Friday, August 14, 2015

Piper PA-46-310P Malibu, N717BL: Men planned flights, car rentals in young girl's kidnapping




C L FAMILY LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N717BL


VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -  A 5-year-old child has been reunited with her mother after officials said she was kidnapped from an elementary school playground.

It happened at Westside Elementary School around 2:15 p.m. Friday.

According to a report, two men walked onto the school property and snatched the 5-year-old.

A teacher saw what was happening and rushed to intervene, but was pushed away as the two men took the child away.

The teacher immediately told the school's resource officer, who notified the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office.

The two men left with the child in a car, and officials began searching for it with a description given by the teacher.

Deputies found the vehicle about 10 minutes later near the Valdosta Airport, where they were able to pull it over and recover the child.

The two men, identified as 33-year-old Michael Ray McCormick and 36-year-old David Scott Stapp, both of Biloxi, MS, were arrested without incident.

McCormick was charged with kidnapping, simple battery on a school official, and disruption of a school.

Stapp was charged with kidnapping (party to the crime), simple battery on a school official (party to the crime), and disruption of a school (party to the crime).

The child was then taken by officials and reunited with her mother, who is an airman at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta.

The kidnapping plans

Investigators later learned that McCormick is the non-custodial parent of the child, and had traveled from Ocean Springs, Mississippi to Valdosta in a private plane. He had then rented a car to travel to the school.

Officials did not immediately confirm that the two men planned to take off the same day with the child, although they were caught close to the Valdosta Airport.

The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office said they found the plane that the two men arrived in at the airport and locked it in a hangar to collect evidence.

The plane the two men flew in was a Piper PA-46 with tail number N717BL, investigators reported.

Recorded flight tracking data revealed the plane departed from Trent Lott International Airport in Pascagoula, MS at 6:13 p.m. CDT Thursday and arrived at Valdosta Regional Airport at 8:47 p.m. EDT.

McCormick and Stapp were taken to the Lowndes County Jail. Booking photos of the two were expected to be released Friday night.

A bond hearing was set for the two, but a specific date was not immediately available.

Source: http://www.walb.com


Flight data revealed the plane departed from Trent Lott International Airport and arrived at Valdosta Regional Airport the day before the kidnapping. (Source: FlightAware.com)

Elk Grove Village Mayor Brings Truckload Of Comments To Last Federal Aviation Administration Hearing: Nearly 3,700 Comments Collected At 4 Meetings Attended By 2,230 People

FAA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Barry Cooper (center) talks with Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson and Itasca Mayor Jeff Pruyn in front of nearly 2,000 comment cards and printed emails delivered by the two mayors, Elk Grove Village trustees, Elk Grove officials and residents to the last of four FAA hearings at Belvedere Banquets in Elk Grove Thursday.



Elk Grove Village Mayor and Suburban O’Hare Commission (SOC) Chairman Craig Johnson, Itasca Mayor Jeff Pruyn, local officials and residents arrived at Thursday’s hearing on O’Hare Airport armed with 16 boxes filled with nearly 2,000 comment cards addressing airport noise.

From there, the comments were marched into a Federal Aviation Administration hearing at an Elk Grove Village banquet hall and presented directly to FAA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Barry Cooper.

As FAA staffers sorted the comment cards and emails, Johnson and Pruyn walked with Cooper through a series of exhibits meant to inform the public on progress of the O’Hare Modernization Plan (OMP), showing both current and projected noise impacts and flight paths around O’Hare. Johnson said he took the time to explain his and other SOC community residents’ concerns and explained what was being presented from his perspective.

Johnson said both Cooper and new Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans have been open and receptive to hearing suggestions, something that has not always been the case through the years especially with Chicago officials who oversee O’Hare.

A contract between the airlines and FAA to use O’Hare is up for renewal in 2018. Johnson said he wants to see a more robust “Fly Quiet” regulations in place with consequences for violating, and would like the FAA to consider other recommendations expected in a report by aviation experts hired by SOC.

Among those expected recommendations is a steeper glide slope for aircraft landing at O’Hare. SOC consultant Bill DeBlazo said a steeper glide slope would mean less noise for those below. Cooper told the Journal & Topics the existing three-degree glide slope is the safest.

FAA officials recently changed flight patterns for aircraft on approach to O’Hare from using a series of stepped drops in altitude to a straight three-degree glide.

Johnson said the difference in stepped down glide slopes and the direct three-degree slope would not change much for communities closer to the airport. He said he understands O’Hare expansion is happening and said he wants to work with Chicago and the FAA to ensure the airport is a good neighbor.

One issue both SOC and local coalition Fair Allocation in Runways (FAiR) have pushed for is keeping two diagonal northwest-to-southeast runways, long the primary workhorses of O’Hare, open. Cooper said, “Our focus is on parallel (east-west) runways. Many (FAA) rules make use of the diagonals more complex.”

Addressing cross traffic, FAA Public Affairs Officer Tony Molinaro said new taxiways at O’Hare come in behind runways and no longer cross runways. Although aircraft taxi a greater distance, Molinaro said the “freeflow” configuration keeps planes moving, making the ride to the gate or runway further but faster for passengers.

Thursday’s hearing was the fourth and final FAA hearing on noise impacts from new runway construction in the OMP.

From Monday, Aug. 10 through Thursday, Aug, 13, the FAA collected 3,690 comments and saw 2.230 people attend four hearings in Niles, Chicago, Bensenville and Elk Grove Village.

Of the 2,230 attending, FAA officials said 600 attended Monday’s hearing at White Eagle Banquets in Niles, 400 attended the hearing in Chicago, 800 in Bensenville and 411 in Elk Grove Village.

Molinaro said a planned runway, which would see arrivals-only from the west, in line with Irving Park Road, would most affect Bensenville and was in part responsible for the higher turnout there.

The FAA also collected 3,690 comments on airport noise from members of the public, including 1,800 printed postcard-style comment cards collected by Elk Grove Village not including printed emails also collected by the village, Molinaro said.

Source:  http://www.journal-topics.com

A map models flight tracks of aircraft coming in and out of O'Hare Airport at Thursday's FAA hearing. The green dot represents Belvedere Banquets in Elk Grove Village where the hearing was held. 

Stafford Regional (KRMN), Virginia: Stafford airport authority hosts town hall meeting

Stafford Regional Airport Authority Chairman Hank Scharpenberg fields questions and comments from a crowd of some 70 people at the open house and town hall meeting Aug. 11. 



The Stafford Regional Airport Authority and several county supervisors faced a largely hostile crowd during an open house and town hall meeting Tuesday evening at the airport.

The authority hosted the meeting to present residents with a timeline of the airport’s history, an overview of current operations and plans for expansion.

Authority members also explained their Compatible Land Use guidelines clarifying the types of construction suitable near the airport and the effects of airport operations on neighbors.

Authority Chairman Hank Scharpenberg explained that the airport is planning a runway extension that is expected to bring larger corporate jets and boost the local economy. He added that the flight path to the runway would be altered to its original plan, slightly affecting some residences in the August Forge neighborhood.

While the authority got several compliments for operations and the expansion of the airport from a trailer to a terminal, other residents were not pleased.

New home-owners complained about aircraft noise into the evening hours and the accompanying vibration. Several residents questioned the three Stafford supervisors promoting the airport expansion, Meg Bohmke, Paul Milde and Robert Thomas, who were seated on the dais. The residents wanted to know why they were not informed of airport plans before they bought houses.

Supervisor Paul Milde, Aquia District, said the authority’s Compatible Land Use plan would clarify future expansion and possible effects. He noted that he would like to incorporate the plan into the county’s Capital Improvement Plan.

Scharpenberg pointed out that any expansion of the airport would require public hearings and that the process would be transparent.

Supervisors chairman Gary Snellings, who represents the airport area and sat in the audience as did Supervisors Jack Calavier and Laura Sellers, said he voted against the airport plan in June because it’s too complicated. He added that he was reflecting the sentiments of his constituents.

Cavalier noted that the authority’s plan will have to be tweaked to make it better for residents.

He also added that it was too bad the town hall meeting did not happen before the supervisors voted down the land-use plan.

Source:  http://www.insidenova.com


Visitors at the open house and town hall meeting view a map of the Stafford Regional Airport.

Concord Regional (KJQF), North Carolina: Concord moves ahead with airport expansion

Concord Regional Airport Director Rick Cloutier speaks to Concord City Council members at a work session on Tuesday.



CONCORD, N.C. -- Concord officials made concrete steps Tuesday toward the construction of a new terminal and parking deck at the Concord Regional Airport.

Council members passed one motion allowing airport staff to negotiate a financing agreement for the parking deck and related work not to exceed $6 million and another motion approving a $450,000 contract with The Wilson Group for parking deck design work. That amount is included with the $6 million.

The FAA and the state are paying for 95 percent of the new commercial terminal. The city’s 5 percent portion is estimated at about $1.06 million. About half of that will be part of the financing agreement, and the city will contribute another $500,000 directly.

Airport Director Rick Cloutier said terminal and parking deck construction will follow completion of the south ramp expansion authorized last year.

Increasing traffic from Allegiant Airlines and the potential for more low-cost carriers has created Concord’s need for a separate terminal and parking for commercial flights, city officials say.

The terminal will not be elaborate, but will provide space for at least two commercial carriers, rental car companies, limited concessions and office space to support those functions. Total square footage has not been determined.

The parking deck will have 700 spaces, 350 on each of its two levels, along with two elevators. The site grade will allow cars to drive directly into each level with no internal ramping.

City staff will make an application to the Local Government Commission and set a public hearing for the debt on Sept. 10.

Source:  http://www.independenttribune.com

Stinson SR-9B Reliant, N17154: Accident occurred August 14, 2015 near Brown Field Municipal Airport (KSDM), San Diego, California

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:  
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Diego, California 

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

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N17154

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA240
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 14, 2015 in Chula Vista, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/06/2017
Aircraft: STINSON SR 9B, registration: N17154
Injuries: 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.

The private pilot stated that, after about 30 minutes airborne on the local flight, the engine experienced a partial loss of power and the airplane began to lose altitude. The pilot switched the fuel selector to the other fuel tank and made a forced landing onto a highway. After touching down on the highway, the engine regained power and the pilot departed again; but shortly thereafter, the engine experienced a total loss of power. During the subsequent off-airport landing in a field, the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted.

The pilot initially reported that he departed with about 20 gallons of fuel on board but was unsure of the exact quantity. He later stated that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures of the airplane, and that the loss of power was likely the result of fuel starvation or exhaustion. During postaccident examination, there was no odor of fuel present around the wreckage and no evidence of fuel in the wing tanks or the fuel lines.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot’s failure to verify the fuel quantity before the flight.

On August 14, 2015, about 0700 Pacific daylight time, a Stinson SR-9B, N17154, experienced a total loss of engine power and landed in a dirt field in Chula Vista, California. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injury; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal local flight departed from Brown Field Municipal Airport, San Diego, California, about 0620. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot stated that he departed for a short practice flight with about 20 gallons of fuel on board, but was not sure of the precise quantity. After about 30 minutes airborne, as he began his return flight back to the airport, the engine power reduced and the airplane began to lose altitude. He switched the fuel selector to the other fuel tank and made a forced landing onto the 125 highway. After touching down on the highway, the engine regained power and became airborne before he had time to react. He attempted to return back to Brown Field but shortly thereafter, the airplane experienced a total loss of power. He again prepared for an off-airport landing and during the landing roll in a dirt field adjacent to Eastlake Parkway and Hunt Parkway, the airplane flipped over and came to rest inverted.

The pilot, who had recently purchased the airplane, noted that the last annual inspection occurred about one month prior to the accident and had flown one hour since that maintenance. The pilot later stated that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures and the loss of power was likely the result of a fuel starvation or exhaustion.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors responded to the accident site. They stated that there was no smell of fuel present upon arrival. They further stated that removal of the wings and corresponding fuel lines revealed no evidence of fuel present in the tanks at the time of the accident; the fuel tanks did not appear breached. They opined that the loss of engine power was a result of fuel exhaustion.








CHULA VISTA — A small vintage plane made a touch-and-go landing on a Chula Vista freeway Friday, then flipped upside down onto a hillside more than three miles away, authorities said. 

The pilot, 65, suffered a tiny injury to one hand and caused no highway crashes. He was flying alone.

The pilot had taken off from Brown Field in Otay Mesa about 6:20 a.m. in a Stinson SR-9B Reliant and developed engine problems, Chula Vista fire Battalion Chief Chris Manroe said.

Police said the pilot, whose name was not released, was planning to fly to Point Loma and back.

He headed to state Route 125 for a landing strip. Motorists reported to the California Highway Patrol that a small plane had landed in southbound lanes near H Street about 6:45 a.m.

The aircraft briefly touched down, then regained power and took to the air again, police and fire officials said. The pilot tried to make it back to Brown Field, but the engine began failing again.

Minutes later, Chula Vista police got calls reporting that the plane had landed on a hill near Hunt and Eastlake parkways, three miles to the south past homes and schools. The pilot then aimed for a wide open space of dirt and low brush about half a mile east of the freeway, where the two roads deadend.

“He would have made it, but his wheels clipped a hill,” police Capt. Lon Turner said.

The plane landed hard and overturned. The jolt ripped off the front landing gear and caused serious damage to the aircraft.

The pilot was able to crawl out on his own. Paramedics evaluated him and put a small bandage on his hand injury.

He told authorities he had spent considerable time and money restoring the plane.

Federal Aviation Administration records show the plane is registered to John D. Nance of San Diego. The record said the Stinson SR-98 was manufactured in 1941. Authorities did not say whether Nance, 68, was the pilot.

A pilot escaped serious injury when his small plane went down in Chula Vista Friday morning while en route to Brown Field Municipal Airport, ending up down on a hillside. 

The Stinson SR-9B Reliant plane was first reported as touching down on state Route 125 south of East H Street after its engine failed around 6:45 a.m., according to a Chula Vista police statement. However, it was gone before authorities arrived.

It went down again shortly afterward on a hillside near the intersection of Eastlake and Hunte parkways, east of state Route 125, and came to a rest upside down, police said.

The plane was substantially damaged in the emergency landing, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.

The pilot was seen walking around after setting the aircraft down, police said. No one else was aboard.

The pilot was evaluated at the scene for complaints of pain, but was not taken to a hospital, according to police and fire officials.

FAA records showed the single-engine aircraft was registered to John D. Nance of San Diego, but it was not immediately confirmed if he was at the controls.

Gregor said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the emergency landing.

Zenith CH 750, N1750Z: Accident occurred August 14, 2015 near Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport Allentown, Pennsylvania

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

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

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

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA311
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 14, 2015 in Allentown, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/19/2015
Aircraft: THOMAS A SIMINSKI ZENITH CH 750, registration: N1750Z
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

The pilot reported that, after takeoff, the airplane’s engine lost partial power about 100 ft above ground level and that he then attempted to return to the airport. The pilot further stated that “the engine would not keep me flying and the airplane just fell into the forest.”

During the on-scene examination, the No. 1 spark plug was found missing from the cylinder head but still attached to the ignition lead. The threads were stripped out of the cylinder head. It is likely that the No. 1 spark plug was liberated from the cylinder head due to the stripped threads, which led to the partial loss of engine power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A partial loss of engine power due to the No. 1 spark plug being liberated from the cylinder head due to the stripped threads in the cylinder head. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to attempt to return to the airport while at a low altitude. 

On August 14, 2015, about 1110 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Zenith CH750, N1750Z, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain shortly after takeoff at Queen City Airport (XLL), Allentown, Pennsylvania. The private pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that after takeoff from runway 25, the engine lost partial power about 100 feet above ground level. The pilot further stated that the engine would not keep him flying. He attempted to return back to runway 7, but the airplane impacted trees and a creek bed, resulting in substantial damage to the airframe.

According to the pilot and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, he held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. The pilot reported 328 hours of total flight experience.

The wreckage was examined at the scene by a FAA inspector. The inspector reported that the airplane was submerged, nose down, in about 2 feet of water. About 10 gallons of fuel were recovered from the airplane's fuel tanks. The airplane's airworthiness certificate was issued in 2012, and since that time it had accumulated 75 total flight hours. The inspector found the number 1 spark plug missing from the cylinder head but still attached to the ignition lead. 

The pilot's son took several pictures of the spark plug, ignition lead and cylinder head. He verified that the threads were stripped out of the cylinder head, and the threads on the spark plug looked to be in good condition.





The pilot of a small plane that crashed in Allentown on Friday was in critical condition Saturday at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, a spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, the Lehigh County Authority lifted the water conservation advisory issued Friday after the plane crashed into the Little Lehigh Creek, one of the authority's primary water sources.

Pilot Thomas A. Siminski of Upper Milford crashed the plane nose first into the creek. That resulted in an extended water plant shutdown to avoid drawing contaminants from the crash into the drinking water supply, the authority said in a statement Saturday morning.

While the authority has other water sources available, including springs, wells and the Lehigh River, switching between these sources can take several hours to complete, so customers had been asked to cut back on water use.

By midnight, officials determined that the water supply was no longer at risk and the plant's normal operations were restored.

The plane crash remains under investigation. Siminski, 68, had been listed in stable condition hours after the crash. His aircraft, a 2012 Zenith CH 750, is an experimental, amateur-built plane, according to FAA records.

THOMAS A.  SIMINSKI:   http://registry.faa.gov/N1750Z





ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Today a pilot and his small plane made a crash landing in an Allentown creek.


Now an investigation is underway to find out what happened.

"In the creek 6 to 8 feet nose down offshore," explained rescue crews. 

Officials say the Zenith CH 750 plane crashed into the waist deep water of Allentown's Lil Lehigh creek just after 11 a.m. 

"It came down real slow, just came down," explained a witness.

Emergency crews raced to the scene, just off Fish Hatchery Road and were able to extract the pilot from the wreckage within 15 minutes. 

"He was banged up, he was in pain but wasn't yelling or anything like that, he was conscious," said Captain John Christopher of the Allentown Fire Department. 

FAA records show the plane is registered to Tom Ziminiski of Zionsville, and housed at Allentown's Queen City Airport.

Records also show he built the experimental plane himself. How and why his plane went down is still a mystery. 

For park-goers, who flock to the area to fish and walk, it's a scenario that was a little too close for comfort.

 "Very easily could have landed on top of our heads," said a couple who often walks their dog feet from where the plane landed.

 Pilots who know Ziminski say he is an experienced pilot, and it appears to them the engine stalled. The FAA is investigating.

Source: http://www.wfmz.com



































































Lancair Evolution, registered to and operated by Unmanned Systems Inc, N427LE: Fatal accident occurred August 13, 2015 in Pacific Ocean

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration; Oakland, California 
Lancair International, Inc; Redmond, Oregon
Unmanned Systems Inc.; Henderson, Nevada 

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N427LE

Location: Pacific Ocean, PO
Accident Number: WPR15LA242
Date & Time: 08/13/2015, 2235 PDT
Registration: N427LE
Aircraft: BARTELS Lancair
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Unknown or undetermined
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 13, 2015, about 2235 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Bartels Lancair Evolution airplane, N427LE, descended into the Pacific Ocean about 490 nautical miles (nm) northwest of San Francisco, California. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by Unmanned Systems, Inc., under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed and activated. The personal flight departed from Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, Phoenix, Arizona, about 1815 with a planned destination of Hesperia Airport, Hesperia, California.

Unmanned Systems was in the process of modifying the airplane so that it could be used as a trainer for pilots flying unmanned aircraft. During the month before the accident, the pilot, who was an employee of Unmanned Systems, had spent the majority of his time in Phoenix working on the development and modification of hardware and software systems for the airplane. The pilot had planned to fly the airplane to Hesperia the day before the accident to pick up his children and return with them to Phoenix. He had to delay his flight because flight line personnel at the fixed based operator (FBO) where he hangared the airplane had left the airplane's master switch on, which completely drained the batteries.

At 1258 on the day of the accident, the pilot sent a text message to his ex-spouse (the children's mother) stating that he had worked on the airplane until 0500 and then had stopped to get some sleep. He told her that he was going back to the airport to work on the airplane and might have to change batteries. At 1728, he sent her a text message stating that he was" finishing up after all the [maintenance]" and would likely be able to fly. At 1746, he texted that "everything is working so far" and "if checks are good when I'm airborne I'll keep going" to the destination airport. At 1815, the pilot texted that he was departing and would be landing in Hesperia between about 1915 and 1930.

Air traffic control (ATC) communication audiotapes from the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center (ABQ ARTCC) indicated that, after takeoff, the pilot contacted ABQ ARTCC at 1825:24, stating that he was at 18,100 ft and climbing to 21,000 ft. The controller responded that he was cleared to climb and maintain 25,000 ft, which was the altitude listed in the pilot's flight plan. At 1829:54, the pilot made his last radio transmission, which was a response to the controller's frequency change instructions. The pilot read back the new frequency correctly making a slight stutter at the beginning of the transmission and double clicking the microphone. The controller checked to see if the pilot was on the frequency about 5 minutes later but did not receive a response.

Radar data indicated that, at the time of the pilot's first radio call, the airplane was transitioning through 18,100 ft, consistent with the pilot's transmission stating that he was climbing through that altitude. During the pilot's last radio transmission, the airplane was climbing through 22,800 ft on a westerly heading; the airplane reached 25,000 ft about 1832:30. The airplane tracked jet route J212, passed over the waypoint CURIV, and about 1850 began a turn to the south-southwest to overfly the Blythe, California very high frequency omnidirectional range (VOR). The airplane completed an s-turn, passed over waypoint DECAS, and continued west, tracking jet route J65. The airplane overflew the destination airport and continued on the heading of 238°.

According to US military representatives, two F-15 fighter jets and a KC-135 air refueling tanker intercepted the airplane near Fresno, California, around 1900. An NTSB investigator reviewed the video taken by the F-15 that was in trail behind the airplane. The other F-15 maneuvered close to the accident airplane and attempted to get the pilot's attention. In the audio of the video, the F-15 pilot nearest the accident airplane reported that he was able to see the airplane's lights flashing (likely referring to the airplane's anti-collision lights and rotating beacon). He added that, due to the window position and the sun's glare, it was difficult to see inside. From what both pilots observed, they could not see anybody inside the airplane. They then used flares in an attempt to get the pilot's attention, but there was no reaction from the pilot. The airplane continued on a heading of about 260° at an altitude of about 25,000 ft.

The pilot of the F-15 closest to the airplane then attempted to see inside the cockpit using night vision googles. After maneuvering to about 200 ft from the airplane, the F-15 pilot reported that he could see in the front seat what he believed to be a seatbelt should harness fully forward and extremely tight. He was only able to observe this because of the contrast of the dark material. It appeared there was no one inside the airplane. The windows were not frosted. Neither F-15 pilot saw lights in the cockpit area. The F-15s continued to follow the airplane for about 20 to 30 minutes before they were recalled to their base at which point a US Coast Guard C-130 airplane followed the airplane until it crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Radar contact was lost at 2150 as the airplane entered non-radar airspace over the Pacific Ocean.

A video taken from the C-130 showed the airplane after its impact with the water. At the beginning of the 49-minute video, the airplane was floating in a nose-low attitude, with the right wing and propeller submerged under water. About 19 minutes into the video, the airplane was in a nose-low, near vertical attitude with the entire nose of the airplane submerged beneath the surface. About 42 minutes into the video, the aft portion of the tail was the only piece of the airplane above the water. The airplane sunk in the ocean, and the wreckage was not recovered. According to a Lancair representative the 4 hours and 22 minutes of flight is consistent with the airplane's engine experiencing a total loss of power from fuel exhaustion.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 39, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/06/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 2500 hours (Total, all aircraft), 30 hours (Total, this make and model), 50 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

A review of the airmen records maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) showed that the pilot, age 39, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for single- and multi-engine land airplanes and instrument airplane. He held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for single-engine airplane and instrument airplane. The pilot was also a certified airframe and powerplant mechanic. His most recent second-class medical certificate was issued in February 2015 and had the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses.

On his most recent FAA medical certificate application, the pilot reported a total flight experience of 2,150 hours of which 50 hours were acquired in the last 6 months. The pilot's personal flight records contained entries up to June 17, 2015, at which time the pilot recorded that he had about 4,025 hours of flight experience, which included his pilot-in-command time of unmanned aircraft. On an application for insurance for the accident airplane the pilot reported that he received 25 hours of Lancair Evolution initial flight training from Elite Pilot Services in December 2014. He additionally reported that he had attended Test Pilot Professional Training at the National Test Pilot School in December 2007 and had previously been in a hypobaric chamber to learn his symptoms of hypoxia. He reported that he did not use any medications.

According to the airplane's radar flight history, 18 flights were made between June 2015 and the accident flight. The airplane had been flown from Phoenix to Hesperia on June 14, June 21, and August 3.

The pilot's friends and acquaintances reported that he had been working long hours but could perform and operate well with little sleep. The pilot reported in the company records that from August 3 to 10, he worked every day for a total of 83 hours; he had not entered his more recent hours.

According to the pilot's girlfriend, he was in good health and had recently run a half marathon. The pilot's body was not recovered so an autopsy and toxicological testing could not be performed.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BARTELS
Registration: N427LE
Model/Series: Lancair Evolution
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 002
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt and Whitney
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-135A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The Lancair Evolution was developed by Lancair and is available as an amateur-built kit from Evolution Aircraft. The high-performance, pressurized airplane is constructed mainly of composite materials and is equipped with four seats, retractable tricycle landing gear, and traditional flight control surfaces. The accident airplane was manufactured in 2009 as serial number EVO-002 and received a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category for the purpose of research and development in October 2014. The airplane was equipped with a Pratt and Whitney PT6A-135A engine, serial number PCE-P21565. According to airplane records, the engine was installed new in December 2014.

An airplane discrepancy list dated February 2, 2015, included an operational check of the pressure controller. There was a further notation that the cabin pressure could not maintain the maximum differential possibly due to a cabin leak or the outflow valve not closing entirely. The records indicated that various maintenance was performed, and the problem was rectified. A new carbon monoxide detector was installed in April 2015.

The airplane was equipped with two EnerSys sealed lead acid batteries. The standard battery installation is two sealed lead acid 24-volt batteries wired in parallel located on the cabin side of the firewall forward of the pilot and co-pilot rudder pedals.

About 1700 on the day of the accident, the airplane was fueled with 70 gallons of fuel topping the wing tanks to full.

The airplane was equipped with a Garmin 900X primary flight display (PFD) and multifunction display (MFD) arrangement with a Radiant Power Corporation (formerly Moritz) touchscreen system between the units. The Moritz touchscreen controlled cabin pressure settings, cabin temperature, cabin fan, and internal and external lighting. A small overhead electrical subpanel controlled pitot heat, prop heat, door seals, the deice door, XM satellite radio volume, and the environmental control system (ECS) flow pack. An oxygen subpanel with an oxygen pressure gauge and switch was mounted to the right of the MFD.

In the several months before the accident, the pilot had been working on the development of a prototype to replace the Radiant/Moritz touchscreen control panel, which had a history of failures. People familiar with the pilot and the airplane stated that the pilot's prototype touchscreen was mounted in the panel, and the Radiant/Moritz touchscreen (which had been removed from the panel but was still connected to the airplane's systems) would rest on the seat beside the pilot. The pilot told a co-developer of the prototype touchscreen that, when he returned from the accident flight, he would give the prototype to the co-developer so that software could be loaded into the unit. The co-developer stated that he thought the pilot still had the Radiant/Moritz touchscreen installed in the airplane (resting on the seat adjacent), and it was possibly a unit that had a history of failing when it overheated. He further stated that, if the Radiant/Moritz touchscreen stops working, it becomes a monitoring device. The Lancair repair station manager stated that a few weeks before the accident, the pilot had flown from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to Phoenix with his prototype touchscreen installed on the airplane and a failed Radiant/Moritz touchscreen in his possession.

Moritz/Radiant Touchscreen

The Moritz/Radiant touchscreen had five main screen selections: cockpit pressure control system (CPCS) control, climate control, breaker control, main, and utility. The CPCS control page had an automatic mode selection, an option to set field elevation, and showed "cabin altitude comm error" and "differential pressure comm error" if these conditions occurred. The Breaker Control page contained the electronic circuit breakers for numerous items, including the CPCS, fan power, and air conditioning.

The CPCS button would map to pages where the cockpit pressure control system could be configured. In the event of cabin pressure exceeding 12,000 ft or differential pressure exceeding 6.7 pounds per square inch (psi), the CPCS button background would change from blue to red. There would also be an audible alarm if either of these conditions occurred. Pressing the red button would take the pilot to the CPCS page where the pressure error data would be indicated in red. The unit displayed actual cabin pressure in feet and had a yellow background if cabin altitude exceeded 10,000 ft. The CPCS page did not need to be selected for the pilot to receive warnings (including if no power was going to the outflow valve).

The airplanes' outflow valve supplied an analogue signal at the selected pressure altitudes that was fed to the CO Guardian carbon monoxide detector unit, which also provided cabin pressure warnings. This signal triggered the same aural tone via the audio panel as would be sent for a high carbon monoxide level in the cabin. The tone that the CO Guardian transmitted was not triggered by an output from the outflow valve. According to Lancair builders, the warning tone is a loud, intermittent beeping sound clearly identifiable as a warning and would not be confused with any other sound normally heard in flight.

According to Lancair, the most common type of failure on the Moritz/Radiant touchscreen was the touchscreen becoming unresponsive or "going black." They suspected that the cause of these failures was heat sensitivity of the unit, which warped the touchscreen board. If such a failure happened during flight, the pilot would lose the ability to control the screen-based functions, including the pressurization. The pressurization controllers were designed to maintain the current cabin differential pressure if a controller failure occurred and would schedule a pressure reduction during descent and would go to zero at the previously-set destination airport altitude.

Oxygen System

The airplane's oxygen system configuration during the accident flight could not be determined. Several people who had flown with the pilot stated that he kept an oxygen mask on his lap, and others stated that the oxygen mask would be in the seat pocket behind him. A Safety Board investigator observed in a storage area in Redmond Oregon there were numerous parts that had been removed from the airplane or were going to be installed in the airplane. In those parts, there were oxygen regulator valves, oxygen masks, and oxygen bottles making it further difficult to determine what was installed on the airplane at the time of impact.

People familiar with the airplane stated that it was equipped with a Mountain High oxygen flow box and bottle that were located in the baggage area under the floor. (This system required no on/off switch, because it was an on-demand flow system.)

Pressurization and Environmental System

The airplane's maximum pressure differential of 6.5 psi differential (psid) was the maximum differential between cabin and ambient altitudes that the pressurized section of the fuselage could support. Cabin pressurization is the compression of air in the cabin to maintain a cabin altitude lower than the actual flight altitude. At an altitude of 28,000 ft and 6.5 psid, the cabin altitude is maintained at 7,000 ft.

The airplane was equipped with a Kollsman ECS outflow valve, which was auto-sequencing and did not require extra equipment to operate normally. On the Radiant/Moritz touchscreen, the cabin altitude could be automatically selected and monitored, and the unit would indicate the pressure difference between the cabin and ambient altitudes. The rate of change between those two pressures was automatically controlled. Activation of the ECS switch (overhead bleed air switch) allowed compressed engine bleed air from the engine compressor section to go from the flow pack to the cockpit. Bleed air was then routed from the engine through an intercooler and the flow pack that expands the compressed air, thus reducing the pressure.

A squat switch on the landing gear opened the outflow valve and prevented cabin pressurization with the landing gear extended on the ground. Switches on the cabin door and baggage door permitted the door seal motors to be energized and inflate the seals.

Seat Belt

The pilot's seat was equipped with a single cross-body shoulder harness. When a man of stature and build similar to the accident pilot was seated in an exemplar airplane and wore the shoulder harness, he was visible in the airplane. Even when slumped all the way forward, he was visible. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBLH
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 0152 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 11000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 160°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.73 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 44°C / 13°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: PHOENIX, AZ (DVT)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: HESPERIA, CA (L26)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 1815 MST
Type of Airspace: Class A 

Phoenix Deer Valley Airport reported the following weather conditions near the time of the departure: wind 200° at 8 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 107°F, dew point 48°F, and altimeter setting 29.81 inches of mercury. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  37.433333, -130.833333 (est) 

Communications

There were insufficient transmissions by the pilot on the accident flight to compare the pilot's voice on the accident flight to his voice on a previous flight to look for signs of hypoxia.

Additional Information

Hypoxia

The FAA's Aeronautical Information Manual (Section 8-1-2) states that "the effects of hypoxia are usually quite difficult to recognize, especially when they occur gradually."

FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 61-107B, "Aircraft Operations at Altitudes Above 25,000 Feet Mean Sea Level or Mach Numbers Greater Than .75," states that altitude hypoxia is caused by "an insufficient partial pressure of oxygen in the inhaled air resulting from reduced oxygen pressure in the atmosphere at altitude. Altitude hypoxia poses the greatest potential physiological hazard to a flightcrew member when at altitude. Supplemental oxygen will combat hypoxic hypoxia within seconds. Check your oxygen systems periodically to ensure an adequate supply of oxygen and that the system is functioning properly. Perform this check frequently with increasing altitude. If supplemental oxygen is not available, initiate an emergency descent to an altitude below 10,000 ft MSL."

AC 61-107B includes the following warning concerning altitude hypoxia:
"If hypoxia is suspected, immediately don oxygen mask and breathe 100 percent oxygen slowly. Descend to a safe altitude. If supplemental oxygen is not available, initiate an emergency descent to an altitude below 10,000 ft MSL. If symptoms persist, land as soon as possible."

AC 61-107B also describes the concept of "time of useful consciousness" (TUC) or "effective performance time" (EPT) as follows:

"This is the period of time from interruption of the oxygen supply, or exposure to an oxygen-poor environment, to the time when an individual is no longer capable of taking proper corrective and protective action. The faster the rate of ascent, the worse the impairment and the faster it happens. TUC also decreases with increasing altitude. Figure 2-3, Times of Useful Consciousness versus Altitude, shows the trend in TUC as a function of altitude. However, slow decompression is as dangerous as or more dangerous than a rapid decompression. By its nature, a rapid decompression commands attention. In contrast, a slow decompression may go unnoticed and the resultant hypoxia may be unrecognized by the pilot."

AC61-107B includes the following warning concerning TUC:

"The TUC does not mean the onset of unconsciousness. Impaired performance may be immediate. Prompt use of 100 percent oxygen is critical."

Figure 2-3 in AC 61-107B indicates that the TUC/EPT for a slow decompression at 28,000 ft is 2.5 to 3 minutes, and at 25,000 ft it is 3 to 5 minutes. The table notes that "the times provided are averages only and based on an individual at rest. Physical activity at altitude, fatigue, self-imposed stress, and individual variation will make the times vary."

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA242 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 13, 2015 in
Aircraft: BARTELS LANCAIR EVOLUTION, registration: N427LE
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 13, 2015, about 2215 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Bartels Lancair Evolution, N427LE, descended into the Pacific Ocean about 430 nautical miles (nm) northwest of San Francisco, California. The airplane was registered to and being operated by Unmanned Systems, Inc under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The certified flight instructor was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The personal flight departed from Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, Phoenix, Arizona about 1815 with a planned destination of Hesperia Airport, Hesperia, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed and activated.

During the month prior to the accident, the pilot had spent a majority of his time based in Phoenix to work on the development of hardware/software upgrades systems for the Lancair Evolution. The pilot had been planning to take the airplane to pick up his four children in Hesperia and return back to Phoenix where they would stay with him for the week. He had to delay his flight because the flight line personnel at the fixed based operator (FBO), where he hangared the airplane, had left the master switch on and the batteries were completely drained.

Air Traffic Control (ATC) communication audiotapes from the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center (ABQ ARTCC) were provided to the National Transportation Safety Board for review. Following departure, the pilot contacted ABQ ARTCC at 1825, indicating he was at 18,100 ft and climbing to flight level (FL)210. The controller read back that he was cleared to climb and maintain FL250, which is the FL listed in the pilot's flight plan. At 1829 the pilot made his last radio transmission which was a response to the controller's frequency change instructions. The pilot read back the frequency and did not make further contact. The controller checked to see if he was on the frequency about 5 minutes later, but did not receive a response.

Preliminary radar data indicated that following departure, the airplane made a continuous climb until reaching FL250. At the time of the first radio call, the airplane did appear to be transitioning through 18,100 ft, consistent with the pilot's transmission. During the pilot's last radio call, about 4 minutes later, the airplane was climbing through 22,800 ft continuing on a westerly heading. While tracking jet route J212, the airplane passed over the waypoint CURIV and at about 1850 began, a turn to the south-southwest to overfly the Blythe, California very high frequency omnidirectional range (VOR). Completing an s-turn, the airplane passed over way point DECAS and continued west tracking jet route J65 overflying the destination airport and continuing on that heading until descending into the ocean. The airplane floated intact for over 20 minutes before becoming submerged in the water.

According US military representatives, two F-15 fighter jets and a KC-135 air refueling tanker intercepted the airplane near




HESPERIA (CBSLA.com) — A father of four and seasoned pilot, Troy Johnson is missing Friday night. 

Johnson, 39, was flying an experimental Lancair plane that was seen crashing into the ocean 460 miles from San Fransisco on Thursday.

“He’s a Christian man, and we know that he’s at peace. It’s a difficult time, and we ask that everyone keep the family in their prayers,” said Lindsay Woods, Johnson’s brother-in-law.

“During the flight there was some unknown mechanical malfunctions. The planes auto pilot continued on its course until the fuel supply was exhausted and it descended into the ocean,” Woods said in a statement.

“Troy at an early age knew that he wanted to be in aviation and right out of high school and Bible college and went to aviation school right after that and graduated and went right into the field,” Woods said.

The FAA says the plane took off from Phoenix, stopped in Palmdale and then took off for Hesperia, only 60 miles away.

But the plane veered off course. Military radar operators picked the plane up off the coast of Point Reyes, just north of San Francisco Bay.

A Coast Guard rescue plane flew alongside and reported seeing the pilot slumped over the controls.

The crew watched as the plane crashed into the ocean about 460 miles off the coast.

Johnson was born in Apple Valley. In addition to his four children, he also has eight siblings.

The family issued a statement Friday evening. It read in part: “Troy was a wonderful man who was passionate about aeronautics from an early age. He was an accomplished pilot, aeronautical engineer and a loving father, brother and son. His family, friends and coworkers would like to extend their appreciation to those brave men and women who aided in the search. We find our peace and comfort in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

The Coast Guard says the search for Johnson was suspended Friday at sunset. There are no plans to resume the search. 

Source:  http://losangeles.cbslocal.com