Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Motorcyclists arrested after fleeing Ohio State Highway Patrol aircraft

The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Aviation Division is increasing efforts to track motorcyclists who flee from officers on the ground. Twice in the last five days, the OSHP's fix-winged aircraft stationed at the Akron Fulton Airport has been used to track and assist in the apprehension of fleeing motorcyclists.

On Friday, while troopers were working a joint enforcement detail with the Stark County Sheriff’s Department and Canton Police Department on US-30 in Canton, a group of motorcycles were checked speeding 80 mph in a posted 60 mph zone. As the pilot notified officers on the ground, one of the cyclists failed to stop and engaged officers in a pursuit. Ground units ended the pursuit, due to reckless operation of the motorcyclist, but aviation continued tracking from the sky.

On Tuesday, while troopers were working a joint enforcement detail with the Summit County Sheriff’s Department and Akron Police Department on IR 277, a motorcyclist's speed was checked at 90 mph in a posted 60 mph zone. As the pilot notified officers on the ground, the cyclist fled when a traffic stop was initiated. This pursuit also ended on the ground, due to the reckless driving of the motorcyclist, but was again tracked from the sky by aviation.    

In both pursuits, the cyclists were tracked by the plane to residences in Canton and Akron, where they attempted to hide their motorcycles. Troopers and officers on the ground were guided to each location by the pilot. In both cases, the motorcycles were impounded and arrests were made.

The OSHP says it will continue to utilize its aviation division to assist in the tracking and apprehension of those individuals who flee from troopers and officers on the ground.

Source: http://www.19actionnews.com

New airline coming to Melbourne, Florida

The Melbourne Airport Authority on Wednesday approved a user and ground services agreement that would allow for the entry of a  major international air carrier into the Brevard County market.

Officials aren't disclosing the name of the airline that's considering Melbourne but these details are known:

  • It has been assigned a economic development code, allowed under state statutes, so negotiations can take place in private for a designated period. The code for the operation is "Beach Paradise."
  • The carrier doesn't currently service the state, and Melbourne International would be its gateway into Florida.
  • The carrier is proposing, initially, non-stop, weekly international service from — an unknown destination — on a 70-seat aircraft. The arrangement is seasonal for now but could grow more frequent, and with larger aircraft, as the flights mature at Melbourne International.

"This is a milestone for the airport," said Greg Donovan, executive director at Melbourne International, winning a measure of applause after announcing the news at the monthly airport authority meeting.

He described the carrier as "a very competent and award-winning airline."

The name of the airline is expected to be announced within the next 10 days.

Melbourne International currently boasts two major domestic carriers, Delta Air Lines and US Airways. Wednesday's deal opens the door to international service from Melbourne.

Airport officials also are in serious discussions with two other international carriers to provide service to Melbourne.

"We're going all now on international, rather than dabbling," said authority member Scott Mikuen, noting that one international carrier is a break-even financial scenario for the airport.

"This will bring returns but we need to go out and get No. 2 and No. 3 quickly," he said.

Prior to approving the ground services agreement, authority members unanimously agreed to install a new passenger boarding bridge for the airport's Federal Inspection Building. That's where international travelers would first go after departing a plane at the Melbourne airport. The cost of the bridge is listed at $974,838.

Source: http://www.floridatoday.com

Fatal accident occurred August 26, 2015 in Villa MarĂ­a del Triunfo, Lima, Peru

A small plane with three people onboard crashed near Peru capital Lima, police said.

Those who died in the crash on Wednesday have been identified as Julio Henry Gomez, Juan Leon Acosta and Miguel Angel Panduro, Xinhua reported quoting General Salvador Iglesias, the head of police for Lima.

Iglesias said that the plane crashed on the hill in the district of Villa Maria del Triunfo.

The belongings of the pilot included an ID card for Servicios Aereos Tarapoto, an airline located in the country's Amazon region.

The rescue teams found the plane completely destroyed and remains of the three people among the wreckage.

Experts from the Peruvian airforce and officials from the country's public ministry are leading a technical investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

 Source: http://www.business-standard.com

Boeing Settles Lawsuit Accusing Company of Mishandling 401(k) Plan: Settlement comes on day of scheduled trial in retirement class-action lawsuit

The Wall Street Journal
By Sara Randazzo
Updated Aug. 26, 2015 7:36 p.m. ET


Boeing Co. agreed on Wednesday to a preliminary deal to settle a long-running lawsuit accusing the company of mishandling its 401(k) plan to the detriment of its employees.

The settlement comes the day a trial was scheduled to begin in the nine-year-old case. Terms weren’t disclosed. The two sides are expected to update the court on details of the talks next month and set a timeline for seeking final approval, according to a court order.

Filed on behalf of 190,000 Boeing employees and retirees, the class-action suit accused Boeing of failing to uphold its fiduciary duties to employees by allowing excessive 401(k) fees to go unchecked, choosing higher-cost retail mutual funds over cheaper options, and improperly making 401(k) plan decisions to benefit vendors receiving other Boeing business.

Boeing, which has defended its 401(k) practices and denied the claims, had no comment Wednesday on the settlement.

Attorney Jerome Schlichter, who represents the plaintiffs, said he was prepared to go to trial and is pleased to have reached a provisional settlement. He said his firm continues to be committed “to improving the 401k savings plans that millions of Americans rely on for a secure retirement.”

The Boeing suit is one of a string of similar class actions targeting major companies over the past decade for alleged violations of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA. Very few have gone to trial. In December, Lockheed Martin Corp. reached a $62 million settlement the week its trial was set to begin, the largest payout so far in a suit of this kind.

Mr. Schlichter also represented the Lockheed plaintiffs and negotiated a $27.5 million deal with Ameriprise Financial Inc. earlier this year. All told, settlements in eight of his suits have brought in $214 million, with about a third of that going to Mr. Schlichter’s law firm.

In addition to monetary recoveries, the settlements often require the companies to agree to permanent changes to their 401(k) practices.

One of Mr. Schlichter’s cases, against Southern California utility Edison International, went to a partial trial and earlier this year reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled unanimously that companies have a continuing duty under ERISA to monitor and remove imprudent investments included in a retirement plan.

Boeing’s $44 billion 401(k) plan is the second-largest in the nation after International Business Machines Corp. , according to the Labor Department.

Regulation of the 401(k) industry falls to the Labor Department, which has sometimes filed briefs in support of cases brought by private attorneys. While the agency has pursued some companies on its own for allegedly excessive fees, it more often uses its resources to investigate fraudulent plans.

In 2012, the agency implemented new rules that require companies to clearly disclose all 401(k) fees to employees.

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


Cessna 310R, N90PS, Gibbs Rentals Inc: Fatal accident occurred August 26, 2015 near Space Coast Regional Airport (KTIX), Titusville, Brevard County, Florida

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Aviation Accident Final Report  -  National Transportation Safety Board: 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: ERA15FA325
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 26, 2015 in Titusville, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/15/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 310R, registration: N90PS
Injuries: 1 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.

About 11 minutes before departing on the personal, cross-country flight between two airports that were about 28 nautical miles (nm) apart, the commercial pilot filed an instrument flight rules flight plan and received a weather briefing. The briefer informed the pilot that the planned route was clear but that thunderstorms were in the areas to the north and to the south of the destination airport. The briefer recommended that the pilot call back before takeoff for an update; however, the pilot did not do so.

When the airplane was about halfway to the destination airport, a terminal radar approach controller informed the pilot that the instrument landing system (ILS) for runway 36 was in use and that the airport was reporting thunderstorms and rain in the vicinity, a visibility of 3 miles, and a broken ceiling at 1,000 ft. The controller also informed the pilot that moderate precipitation extended from the destination airport to 2 nm south of the airport, light precipitation to 8 nm, and heavy to extreme precipitation beyond that; the controller said that he planned to vector the airplane to intercept the ILS 36 approach course about 6 to 7 nm south of the airport in order to keep it clear of the heavy precipitation. However, weather radar information shown on the controller's display indicated that the precipitation directly over the destination airport at that time was of extreme intensity, and it should have been described as such by the controller in accordance with published Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance.

A relief approach controller subsequently provided the pilot with instructions to intercept the ILS 36 approach course. The controller did not provide, nor did the pilot request, any updated weather information. Radar data indicated that the airplane intercepted the approach course about 4.4 nm south of the airport, which was about 1.6 nm inside the final approach fix, and descended along the glideslope. The controller's vectoring of the airplane to intercept the final approach course inside the final approach fix was not in compliance with FAA procedures; however, there is no evidence indicating that the pilot experienced additional difficulty as a result of the abnormal intercept. The pilot subsequently contacted the control tower at the airport and was cleared to land. About 2 minutes later, the pilot advised the tower controller that he did not have the airport in sight and was executing a missed approach.

The tower controller then transferred communications back to the approach controller. Radar data indicated that, while the approach controller was asking the pilot if he wanted to turn to the south to avoid weather north of the airport, the airplane was flying over the airport, and the pilot had begun a right turn. The pilot reported that the airplane was in heavy precipitation, the controller then instructed the pilot to turn right to 210 degrees, and the pilot acknowledged the instruction. No further communication was received from the pilot. 

Radar data indicated that, while operating in precipitation of extreme intensity, the airplane completed a 180-degree climbing right turn and then entered a rapid descent. The airplane subsequently impacted a river, and only about half of the airframe was recovered. Examination of the recovered components revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane. The level of fragmentation of the recovered components indicated that the airplane impacted the water with significant energy; however, it could not be determined whether any components separated from the airplane in flight.

During interviews, both approach controllers reported that they were aware of the precipitation depicted on the radar over the destination airport. Although the radar-depicted weather differed from the reported visual flight rules (VFR) conditions at the airport, they did not discuss the weather conditions with the tower controllers. Further, during interviews, the tower controllers reported that they were aware that the airport visibility had decreased below VFR minima, that a thunderstorm was over the airport, and that the control tower had been struck by lightning. Special weather observations should have been issued when the thunderstorm began about 35 minutes before the accident and when the visibility decreased below VFR minima about 23 minutes before the accident. However, the tower controllers did not issue any special weather observations or provide information about the worsening weather conditions to the approach controllers as required by published FAA guidance.

Although the airplane was equipped with devices, including onboard weather radar, capable of providing in-cockpit weather data to assist the pilot's decision-making, it could not be determined what devices, if any, the pilot was using during the flight. It is likely that, given the adverse weather conditions in the area, the airplane encountered turbulence or windshear associated with thunderstorms, which resulted in the pilot's loss of airplane control. Although the pilot was aware of convective activity in the vicinity of the destination airport, the air traffic controllers' did not provide him with timely and accurate weather information for the airport, such as the increased severity of the storm, lightning activity, and the reduced visibility, as required by FAA directives.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's continued flight into known convective weather conditions, which resulted in the airplane's encounter with thunderstorms and the pilot's subsequent loss of airplane control during a missed approach. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the approach controllers and the tower controllers to provide timely and accurate weather information to the pilot.

***This report was modified on December 13, 2016. Please see the docket for this accident to view the original report.***

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 26, 2015, about 1620 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 310R, N90PS, was destroyed when it impacted water during a missed approach at Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX), Titusville, Florida. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Gibbs Rentals Inc., Wilmington, Delaware, and privately operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the planned flight to TIX. The flight originated from Orlando Executive Airport (ORL), Orlando, Florida, at 1556.

Review of radar data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the airplane departed from ORL at 1556. The Orlando Terminal radar departure sector air traffic controller instructed him to climb to 3,000 feet, and the pilot acknowledged the instruction. The controller then advised the pilot of an area of heavy precipitation near TIX. The controller then instructed the pilot to turn left to a heading of 220 degrees. At 1558, the controller instructed the pilot to turn left to a heading of 110 degrees and climb to 4,000 ft. One minute later, the controller instructed the pilot to descend to 3,000 feet. The pilot acknowledged and complied with all of the instructions.

At 1603:31, communications with the pilot were transferred to an Orlando terminal radar approach controller, who informed the pilot that there was moderate precipitation from TIX out to 2 miles south of the airport, light precipitation out to 8 miles, and then extreme precipitation beyond that. He also reported that thunderstorms and rain were in the vicinity of TIX and that the visibility was 3 miles. The controller was subsequently relieved for a break and he told the relief controller about the weather near TIX and his plan to intercept the final approach course about 6 to 7 miles south of the end of the runway.

At 1610, the relief controller instructed the pilot to fly a heading of 080 degrees and instructed him to descend to 2,100 ft. At 1613:11, he instructed the pilot to turn left heading 030 degrees and maintain 2,100 feet and to intercept the localizer course for the instrument landing system approach to runway 36 at TIX. The pilot acknowledged the instruction. The airplane intercepted the final approach course at 1614:55 at 1,900 feet and about 1.6 nautical miles inside of the final approach fix.

At 1614, the relief controller instructed the pilot to contact the TIX control tower. The pilot subsequently made two attempts to contact the TIX tower, and on the second attempt, the TIX controller responded that the airport was operating under IFR. The pilot responded that he was on an IFR flight plan, and the TIX controller cleared the flight to land.

At 1617, the pilot advised the TIX controller that the airport was not in sight and that he was executing a missed approach. The TIX controller transferred communications back to the Orlando approach controller, who then asked the pilot if he wanted to fly the full published missed approach or if he was requesting an alternate missed approach to the south to avoid heavy precipitation. The pilot requested a turn to the south because he was in "heavy" precipitation. Radar data indicated that, while the air traffic controller was asking the pilot about the alternate missed approach, the pilot had begun a right turn. The controller then told the pilot to turn right to 210 degrees when able, and the pilot acknowledged the right turn instruction. During a subsequent interview, the controller stated that he issued a right turn because convective weather was less severe to the airplane's right than to its left.

At 1620, radar data indicated that, after the airplane completed a 180-degree climbing right turn to reverse direction, it made a rapid descent and impacted a river. No further voice communications were received by air traffic control.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued August 23, 2013. At the time of the medical examination, the pilot reported 976 total hours of flight experience and 0 hours of flight experience within the previous 6 months. The pilot's logbook was not recovered. Insurance documentation reported that, as of October 24, 2014, the pilot had accumulated 1,000 hours' total flight experience, of which 407 hours were in multiengine airplanes and 300 hours were in the accident airplane make and model. The pilot did not report his instrument experience on the insurance application, nor was it required.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA and aircraft maintenance records, the airplane was originally issued an airworthiness certificate on February 17, 1975, and registered to the owner on October 24, 2014. It was powered by two Continental IO-550-A2F, 300-horsepower engines and driven by two McCauley propellers, model 3A32C87. According to maintenance records, the most recent annual inspection was conducted on October 16, 2014, with a recorded total time in service of 4259.3 hours. At that time, both engines had accumulated 805.4 hours since major overhaul.

The airplane was equipped with a Bendix RDS-82VP weather radar system and a Garmin 496 handheld GPS receiver with onboard satellite-based weather depiction. The pilot also had access to a tablet computer that had an aviation flight planning application, Fore Flight, and a weather application. The extent to which the pilot might have used any of these devices during the flight could not be determined.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1545, the pilot called an automated flight service station and requested a weather briefing. A briefer advised the pilot that the planned route of flight was currently clear but that there were thunderstorms moving up from the south that could affect the flight. He added that thunderstorms were in the area to the north and south of TIX. The briefer advised the pilot to call back right before takeoff for an update on the weather movement. The pilot then filed an IFR flight plan and ended the call. The pilot did not call back before takeoff.

The official observation for conditions near the time of the accident, which was reported from TIX at 1555, included wind from 040° at 16 knots gusting to 26 knots, visibility 2 miles in thunderstorm and moderate rain, ceiling broken at 1,000 feet agl, temperature 29° C, dew point 24° C, altimeter 29.94 inches of Hg. Remarks: thunderstorm began at 1445. None of the observations for TIX surrounding the time of the accident were listed as special observations (SPECI), and the only remarks noted were of the beginning and ending of the thunderstorm and a report of showers in the vicinity after the accident. There was no aircraft mishap report noted, and there were no indications of the type and frequency of lightning over the region during the period or of the location and movement of towering cumulus (TCU) or cumulonimbus (CB) clouds.

Infrared satellite imagery for 1615 depicted several defined cumulonimbus clouds over the Titusville area and central and southern Florida. The radiative cloud top temperature over the accident site corresponded to cloud tops near 45,000 feet based on the upper air sounding.

The National Weather Service radar reflectivity mosaic for 1620 depicted scattered echoes across northern, central, and southeast Florida. The echoes were south of the departure area for Orlando with a large area of intense-to-extreme echoes identified over the Titusville area and extended to the southwest.

A review of lightning activity between 1545 and 1630 depicted over 1,100 lightning strikes, of which over 350 were cloud-to-ground type strikes, within a 15-mile radius of TIX. At 1608, the air traffic control tower at TIX was struck by lightning.

Security camera video was obtained for the investigation; the video began at 1551 and ended at 1701. The security camera recorded numerous airplanes parked on the ramp area at TIX and a self-service fuel tank about 30 feet from the security camera. The camera was motion activated and only captured images when motion was detected. At 1551, the video indicated dark cumulonimbus clouds building. The recording taken at 1609 indicated heavy rain, and visibility was reduced to about 1/4 mile. Most of the parked airplanes on the ramp were not visible, and the fuel tank was noticeable but not clearly visible.

The Federal Meteorological Handbook requires that, at a manual observing station such as TIX, if lightning is observed the frequency, type of lightning, and location shall be reported. The handbook also requires that a special observation be issued when a thunderstorm begins or when visibility deceases to 3 miles or less.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane was recovered from a depth of about 6 feet from the Indian River. The debris field was compact, and both engines were located about 40 feet apart from each other. The airplane was fragmented and only a portion of the airplane was recovered due to currents. The recovered pieces were no larger than about 2 feet by 2 feet. Some of the components recovered were sections of the nosecone, seats, left wing spar, empennage, horizontal stabilizer, and both nacelle baggage compartment doors. Flight control continuity could not be verified due to impact damage and the inability to locate the flight controls and associated cables. Measurement of the elevator trim actuator corresponded to an off-scale nose-up trim, consistent with impact damage.

The left engine had separated from the airframe, and the propeller had separated from the engine and was not recovered. Engine powertrain continuity was confirmed from the front of the engine to the rear accessory section by manually rotating the crankshaft and observing movement of the timing gears and valve train. All six cylinders were attached; however, the cooling fins exhibited impact damage. The top sparkplugs were removed, and the electrodes were intact and grey. There was some sea water corrosion present on all of the sparkplugs. Thumb compression was achieved when the crankshaft was manually rotated. The right and left magnetos separated, but were recovered. The magnetos were damaged by corrosion due to sea water immersion. The ignition harness was damaged when the magnetos separated.

The right engine had separated from the airframe, and the propeller separated from the engine and was not recovered. Engine powertrain continuity was confirmed from the front of the engine to the rear accessory section by manually rotating the crankshaft and observing movement of the timing gears; however, rocker arm motion did not occur. The engine case was opened and it was determined that the cam shaft was fractured in two pieces. Subsequent metallurgical examination of the camshaft revealed fracture features consistent with overstress during impact. The top spark plugs were removed and the electrodes were intact and grey in color. There was some sea water corrosion present on all sparkplugs. The magnetos were damaged by corrosion due to sea water immersion. The ignition harness was damaged when the magnetos separated.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was conducted on the pilot on August 31, 2015, by the Office of the Medical Examiner, Rockledge, Florida. The cause of death was determined to be "multiple blunt force injuries."

Forensic toxicology was conducted on lung and muscle specimens from the pilot by the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the results were negative for ethanol and drugs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

FAA Order 7110.65, "Air Traffic Control," contains a Pilot/Controller Glossary that addresses how air traffic controllers shall describe levels of precipitation based on dBZ levels and states, in part, the following:

PRECIPITATION RADAR WEATHER DESCRIPTIONS –
a. LIGHT (< 30 dBZ)
b. MODERATE (30 to 40 dBZ)
c. HEAVY (> 40 to 50 dBZ)
d. EXTREME (> 50 dBZ)
(Refer to AC 00-45, Aviation Weather Services.)

FAA 7110.65, Paragraph 2-6-4, "Weather and Chaff Services," states, in part, the following:

b. Inform any tower for which you provide approach control services of observed precipitation on radar which is likely to affect their operations.

FAA Order 7110.65, Paragraph 2-6-3, "PIREP Information," and states, in part, the following:

Significant PIREP information includes reports of strong frontal activity, squall lines, thunderstorms, light to severe icing, wind shear and turbulence (including clear air turbulence) of moderate or greater intensity…and other conditions pertinent to flight safety.

a. Solicit PIREPs when requested or when one of the following conditions exists or is forecast for your area of jurisdiction:
1. Ceilings at or below 5,000 feet. These PIREPs must include cloud base/top reports when feasible.
2. Visibility (surface or aloft) at or less than 5 miles.
3. Thunderstorms and related phenomena.

During a postaccident interview, the Orlando terminal radar approach controller who advised the pilot of the precipitation south of the airport provided the following information. He stated that on initial contact with the airplane, the pilot verified that he had the current automated terminal information service (ATIS) for TIX airport. He advised the pilot of the weather shown on his display and issued the airplane a 115 degree heading for the instrument landing system (ILS) runway 36 approach to TIX. He told the pilot to expect a 6 to 8 mile turn to final to keep him out of the precipitation that was south of TIX along the final approach course. He told the pilot that there was heavy to extreme precipitation in the vicinity of the TIX airport and moderate precipitation over the TIX airport. He said that if he had continued to work the airplane, he would have issued the radar-displayed weather again when the airplane was on final approach. After issuing the 115 degree vector, he issued the pilot a 10 degree left turn because it looked like the wind was pushing the airplane south. Soon after the 10 degree left turn was issued, he was relieved by another controller. During the position relief briefing, he told the oncoming controller that the pilot was aware of the weather and still wanted to shoot the ILS runway 36 approach to TIX. Although he never specifically addressed it in the position relief briefing, he believed the oncoming controller understood the plan to take the airplane out to a 6 to 8 mile final. After completing the position relief briefing, he remained for a 2 minute overlap before departing the position.

During a postaccident interview, the relief Orlando terminal radar approach controller provided the following information. He stated that before taking over the position, he received a position relief briefing from the outgoing controller. His plan was to bring the airplane close to the final approach fix (FAF) because there was weather south of the final approach course. He vectored the airplane to the final approach course, issued a 30 degree right turn to intercept, and issued the approach clearance. He noticed that the airplane was further away from the final approach course than he wanted, and he issued the pilot an additional 10 degree turn to the right to establish the airplane on the final approach course. He advised the pilot that he would join the final approach course at the FAF and asked the pilot if that would be okay; the pilot accepted the plan. He then issued the pilot a frequency change to TIX air traffic control tower. He did not recognize that the airplane intercepted the final approach course inside the FAF. TIX tower called him and advised him that the pilot never got the airport in sight and was going to execute the published missed approach procedure. The pilot returned to his frequency, and he advised the pilot that there was heavier weather to the north of TIX and asked the pilot if he would like a turn to the south to avoid the weather. The pilot asked for the turn south, and he instructed the pilot to turn right to a heading of 210 degrees. He asked the pilot if he would like to continue further south for another approach with no response from the pilot. He noticed the radar track on the airplane had gone into "coast," and shortly after, he made two or three transmissions trying to reestablish radio communications with no success. Although he had never called the weather to the pilot, he remembered that there was heavy precipitation over TIX. He did not inform the pilot because the previous controller had done so.

During a postaccident interview, the TIX controller who was working the local control (LC) position at the time of the accident provided the following information. He was initially working the ground control (GC) position and took over the LC position about 1600. The field was operating under instrument flight rules (IFR) with thunderstorms building, but he could not recall much movement in the storms. He said "there was one big [thunderstorm] north of us," and there was also a thunderstorm on the ILS final approach course with rain showers building. The airport was landing runway 36, and the ILS approach was being used. Two visual flight rules (VFR) aircraft had just landed before he took over the LC position, and the field had gone from VFR to IFR around the time that the time second aircraft landed. Five minutes after he assumed the LC position, lightning struck the tower and sparks came out of the lighting panel. When the airplane checked in on the tower frequency, he asked the pilot to "say intentions." The pilot responded that he was IFR and on the ILS runway 36 approach. He looked out the tower cab window and saw that there was no rain on the airfield at that moment. After clearing the pilot to land, he turned his attention to recording the ATIS. He remembered the rain starting and said that he could hear the airplane. When he looked outside again, the visibility had dropped to about a half-mile. The pilot reported that he never got the field in sight and was going around, so he issued the published missed approach and coordinated with the approach controller. 

During a postaccident interview, the TIX controller who was working the GC position at the time of the accident provided the following information. He assumed LC position duties about 1400, and, at that time, the weather was VFR, but around 1500 to 1530, the clouds started to build. The TIX ATIS broadcast during the accident sequence had been recorded at about 1547 and broadcast at 1550. At 1555, the weather deteriorated to instrument meteorological conditions however the ATIS was not updated to reflect the change. As the weather approached and began to impact TIX, he did not make any weather observations. He said that perhaps complacency was the reason the SPECI weather observations were not made. He thought that if an airplane was inbound, he could provide the pilot with a real-time update. He knew that a SPECI should have been issued when the weather conditions changed from VFR to IFR. He said he would put lightning in the remarks section of a weather observation, but he did not on the date of the accident. He took over the GC position about 1600. He was not immediately aware that the tower had been struck by lightning but became aware there was a problem when various pieces of equipment failed. He worked through the issues, trying to determine which pieces had failed and which ones were returning to service. He said it began to rain around 1615. He heard the airplane check in with the LC over the loud speaker in the TIX cab. He was surprised that an airplane was attempting to land with the bad weather in the area. He described the precipitation during that time as moderate to heavy.



TITUSVILLE, Fla. - The National Transportation Safety Administration this week released the final report on a fatal 2015 plane crash near Titusville.

The cause of the crash was determined to be partly lack of control and poor judgment by the pilot, David Gibbs, 59, of Orlando, the report said.

Part of the blame also fell on air traffic controllers, with the report citing a “lack of action” as a contributing factor in the crash.

The main issue on the day of the crash, Aug. 26, 2015, was severe weather, which caused turbulence and reduced visibility, the report said.

Body pulled from Indian River identified as pilot in plane crash

Gibbs had taken off from Orlando Executive Airport in a twin-engine Cessna and was flying to Titusville when, at about 4 p.m., flight controllers reported losing contact with him.

He tried to land once, missed the approach and was circling back for a second attempt when the plane crashed into the Indian River, officials said.

Gibbs knew about weather issues at Space Coast Regional Airport but continued toward the facility, which proved to be a mistake, crash investigators found.

“It is likely that, given the adverse weather conditions in the area, the airplane encountered turbulence or windshear associated with thunderstorms, which resulted in the pilot’s loss of airplane control,” the report said.

Flight controllers had a responsibility to provide Gibbs with timely and accurate information about the severity of the weather, which they did not do, investigators said.

GIBBS RENTALS INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N90PS

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA325
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 26, 2015 in Titusville, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA 310R, registration: N90PS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On August 26, 2015, about 1619 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 310R, N90PS, was destroyed when it impacted water during a missed approach at Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX), Titusville, Florida. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Gibbs Rentals Inc. and operated by a private individual as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight to TIX. The flight originated from Orlando Executive Airport (ORL), Orlando, Florida, about 1540.

According to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the flight was in radio and radar contact with air traffic control (ATC) as the pilot was performing an instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 36 at TIX. The pilot subsequently reported to ATC that he was performing a missed approach and ATC advised the pilot to fly the published missed approach procedure and switch radio frequency to Orlando departure frequency. The pilot started to make a right turn; however, the published missed approach for the ILS runway 36 was to climb to 500 feet and then start a climbing left turn to 2,000 feet. The Orlando departure controller asked the pilot if he wanted the published missed approach or to fly south and get out of the storm. The pilot stated he wanted to turn south and the controller then advised the pilot to turn right when able to a heading of 210 degrees. No further communications were received from the accident airplane. During the missed approach, the airplane climbed to approximately 1100 feet mean sea level (msl), then dropped rapidly to 300 feet msl, before radar contact was lost.

The wreckage was subsequently located about 2 miles east of TIX, submerged in the Indian River in about 6 feet of water. The debris field was compact and both engines were located about 40 feet apart. About 50 percent of the airplane was recovered and most pieces were 2 feet by 2 feet or smaller. Components recovered included sections of the nosecone, seats, left wing spar, empennage and horizontal stabilizer, and both wing baggage compartment doors. Due to the lack of cables and controls recovered, flight control continuity could not be verified. Measurement of the elevator trim actuator corresponded to an off-scale nose-up trim, consistent with impact damage.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on August 23, 2013. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 976 hours.

The recorded weather at TIX, at 1650, included winds from 070 degrees at 10 knots, gusting to 22 knots, visibility 3 miles with thunderstorms and rain showers, temperature 23 degrees C, dew point 22 degrees C; barometric altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury.

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Orlando FSDO-15


A pilot and his plane are missing after authorities believe it crashed near Titusville Wednesday.

WFTV reporter Roy Ramos watched as crews pulled a body out of the Indian River Thursday, but it is not confirmed whether it is the body of the pilot.

Controllers at Space Coast Regional Airport in Brevard County lost contact with the small plane at about 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Brevard County Sheriff's Office teams, the U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife searched for hours in and near the Indian River.

"We know the plane was flying at about 300 feet, had radioed in and then they lost contact," said Brevard County spokesman Don Walker.

Strong storms may have been a factor in the incident.

Deputies said debris was found that is consistent with the material from the airplane. Sheriff's homicide agents and investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are assisting with the investigation.

The last known location of the plane was about one mile east of the TICO Airport in the Indian River and approximately 400 yards off the shoreline.

Echoes from the U.S. Coast Guard's search helicopter pierced the sky and flashing blue lights from rescue agencies across Brevard County lit up the Indian River where the plane is believed to have crashed while attempting to land at Space Coast Regional Airport.

The flight manifest had the plane originating from Orlando Executive Airport with only the pilot on board the twin-engine Cessna.

"I quickly looked to see if I would happen to know who was flying the plane," witness Roger Molitor said.

Just before controllers lost contact with the plane, a bad thunderstorm pounded the area around the airport.

Molitor is also a pilot.

"It takes a good pilot to fly through something like this," Molitor said. "Very few people can survive a storm like the one that went through."




Officials have narrowed their search for a twin-engine Cessna aircraft that disappeared this afternoon to a section of the Indian River near the NASA Causeway.

Contact with the aircraft was lost at 4:26 p.m. during the height of harsh weather at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue Spokesman Don Walker.

The pilot did attempt a “low approach” landing, but had to abort and contact was lost about a mile east of the airport at an altitude of 300 feet.

Just after 7 p.m., the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit spotted some debris about a quarter of a mile east of the airport near the NASA Causeway in the Indian River, according to Walker.

“It has not yet been 100 percent confirmed that it is the aircraft, but all eyes are focused on that area at this time,” Walker said.

Space Coast Regional Airport Fire Chief Terry Wooldridge said the pilot is based out of Orlando Executive Airport.

A sheriff’s office dive team will examine the debris to determine if it is the missing aircraft. Agencies will be investigating through the night.

Story and video:   http://www.floridatoday.com

A helicopter searches the Indian River for a plane that disappeared near Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville Wednesday. 


Update, 8:05 p.m.:    The search appears to be settling in an area just south of the State Road 405 causeway near Kennedy Space Center.

Update, 6:41 p.m.:   Fire officials tell FLORIDA TODAY that contact with a twin-engine Cessna was lost at 4:26 p.m. about a mile east of Space Coast Regional Airport.

The pilot departed from Orlando Executive Airport and appears to be based out of there, according to Space Coast Regional Airport Fire Chief Terry Wooldridge. They did attempt a "low approach" landing, but had to abort and contact was lost at an altitude of 300 feet about a mile east of the airport.

The plane may have crashed into the Indian River, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Don Walker.

"This incident occurred at the height of the storm we had this afternoon," Walker said.

Officials also said the only person on board was the pilot.

Brevard County Fire Rescue, Titusville Fire Department, Brevard County Sheriff's Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission the U.S. Coast Guard and Kennedy Space Center Fire Department are all on the scene.

Original story:   Titusville police have confirmed with FLORIDA TODAY that they are on their way to reports of a plane crash around the area of Space Coast Regional Airport.

A visual journalist and reporter are on their way to the scene.

Story and video: http://www.floridatoday.com



Officials say they lost contact with a small plane that took off from Orlando Executive Airport and aborted a landing at the Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville on Wednesday afternoon.

The pilot was trying to land around 4:30 p.m., which was when heavy storms hit the area, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue officials.

He couldn't land, so he took back off. Then they lost contact.

The plane was about 300 feet off the ground and one mile east of the airport when it lost radio contact, fire rescue said.

Emergency personnel found some debris in the Indian River but have not confirmed if it is the plane. A Brevard County Sheriff dive team is en route.

The search area included Indian River and Banana River.

The pilot was the only one aboard. The pilot was not identified.

Brevard County Sheriff, Fire Rescue, U.S. Coast Guard and Fish and Wildlife participated in the search, officials said.

The twin-engine Cessna had the tail number N90PS.

Orlando Executive Airport is operated by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and is located off East Colonial Drive near Maguire Boulevard.

Source:   http://www.orlandosentinel.com

Infamous pilot, drug smuggler returns to prison

Russell Brothers, Jr., stands next to the vintage Beechcraft G18S airplane that he guided to a belly-slide landing at Cornelia Fort Airpark on April 21, 2012. 
Provided by Russell Brothers, Jr. 



Russell Brothers, a septuagenarian, convicted drug smuggler, gun hoarder and pilot, turned himself in at a federal prison on Tuesday. 

This time, Brothers, 78, will spend a year and three months in a federal prison and then do a year on probation, according to federal court records. According to the federal Bureau of Prisons, Brothers is serving his term at a facility in Lexington, Ky.

Brothers is no stranger to life behind bars.

He was convicted in Florida on drug trafficking charges in 1988 and again in 1993 on trafficking and money laundering counts. In one judge’s words, the “giant among giants” in international smuggling served 11 years in prison for running cocaine between Florida and the Bahamas.

Earlier this year, Brothers pleaded guilty in federal court in Nashville to three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of attempted obstruction of justice. Court papers say his surrender date was delayed because he is in poor health and underwent surgeries.

Authorities found a slew of weapons at Brothers' home in Burns after a series of events reminiscent of a television crime drama.

Trouble began again for Brothers after he safely belly-landed his 1961 twin-engine Beechcraft airplane at the defunct Cornelia Fort Airpark on April 20, 2012.

Although Brothers didn’t alert authorities, his unmistakable silver airplane and long association with the small airfield led police to him two days later.

Six days later, a search of his home turned up 16 guns, including revolvers, rifles and a shotgun, authorities said. He gave one gun to another man and asked him to lie to investigators, and squirreled another away at a relative’s house, prompting the other charges, according to court records.

Source: http://www.tennessean.com





Beechcraft G18S, Great American Transportation Co., Inc., N6B: Incident occurred April 21, 2012 at Cornelia Fort Air Park (M88), East Nashville, Tennessee 

http://registry.faa.gov/N6B 


FAA IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 6B        Make/Model: BE18      Description: 18 
  Date: 04/22/2012     Time: 0000

  Event Type: Incident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Unknown

LOCATION
  City: NASHVILLE   State: TN   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT FOUND GEAR UP IN THE GRASS AT THE CLOSED CORNELIA FORT AIRPORT, 
  NEAR NASHVILLE, TN

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   1
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: NASHVILLE, TN  (CE19)                 Entry date: 04/23/2012 


Flying through rain in the dark before midnight on Friday, a 74-year-old pilot said he used the lights of Opryland to guide his vintage airplane to a smooth belly landing on a grass strip at a shuttered airport in East Nashville, landing without injury but stirring up questions about his past.

Even without landing gear, Russell Brothers, Jr., came down so gently in his 1961 twin-engine Beechcraft Model 18 that he didn’t trigger the crash locator that he said would have given authorities his location at Cornelia Fort Airpark.

He was alone and uninjured at an airstrip he’d flown to for more than 50 years before it closed. He said he called his wife to pick him up and they rode back to Burns, Tennessee, leaving the airplane behind as a mystery for police.

“We were just both thankful that I wasn’t hurt and that was all we talked about,” Brothers said by phone this morning.

He said he was flying Friday from Miami to Dickson, Tennessee, near his home. When his landing gear did not work, Brothers thought of the only grass strip he knew in Nashville.

“When your gear won’t come down, you don’t pull it over to the side of the road and call the wrecker,” Brothers said. “That field was the most appropriate place to put it down.”

He knew it’d be smooth because of the years he spent as air traffic manager at the airpark.

“There were no lights, but I had been flying in and out of that place 55 years and was familiar with the terrain and geography,” he said. “We used Opryland as an approach fix, and so then I flew out over Old Hickory Lake to Opryland and all the lights and made an approach into the strip.”

Brothers said he wasn’t scared.

“I’m Christian and I prayed about this obviously and felt that my safety was in the hands of the Lord,” he said. “I was concerned about tearing up my airplane. That was the main thing on my mind.

“People are not calm in situations like this, but you gotta do what you gotta do,” he said. “I don’t want to sound cavalier, but when you’ve been flying as long as I have you’re going to find situation like this that occur.”

Brothers wrote an account of the night for the Federal Aviation Administration and Metro Nashville police.

Unusual landing raises questions about pilot's past 

 Don Aaron, police spokesman, said a Metro Parks Department maintenance worker found the plane Saturday and notified police the next day when it had not moved.

Aaron said officers hope to meet with Brothers in the coming week — the latest in Brothers’ long history of encounters with police. In 1988, he was convicted of international drug smuggling, having brought 1.5 tons of cocaine into South Florida. He served 11 years in prison as part of a 60-year sentence.

Brothers said he wasn’t carrying drugs Friday.

“I certainly don’t want any more part of that,” Brothers said. “Like a lot of men in their midlife crisis, they forget about what is important in their life, and I did.

“I hurt my family then and I certainly don’t want to go through that again,” Brothers said. “It’s not a remote option.”

As for the potential police interview, he said he’d be glad to talk with them.

“I have nothing to hide,” he said.

Brothers said he reported the airplane Saturday to a Metro Parks employee who he knows. That information did not make it to law enforcement until Sunday.

“When I was out there in the field Sunday afternoon nobody knew whose it was,” Aaron said.
Brothers grew up in Belle Meade, attended Vanderbilt University and lived at the Airpark before losing his home in the 2010 flood.

FAA records show Brothers received his first pilot’s license in 1966, but that he is not current on the accompanying medical certificate that is required to fly. Asked if he should not have been flying without it, he said that is “essentially correct.”
=====

Metro Police and the Federal Aviation Administration are working to identify the pilot who landed a 1961 Beechcraft twin-engine airplane on the grass at the closed Cornelia Fort Airpark in East Nashville. 

The plane has been on the runway since at least yesterday, when it was first discovered by a Metro Parks employee. 

When the landing gear became inoperable, police said, the pilot apparently cut the engines before belly landingin a large grassy area adjacent to the runway.

 The propellers and engines show obvious damage. 

 The plane is registered to Great American Transportation, Inc., which lists its address as Cornelia Fort Airpark. 

Metro police have no information about who or what was onboard the airplane and there is no indication that anyone was seriously injured. 

No cargo or contraband was located when officers arrived Sunday. Metro officers and the FAA are working to determine the plane’s whereabouts over the last several weeks.

Incident occurred August 26, 2015 near Grider Field Airport (KPBF), Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas



A crop duster pilot suffered minor injuries in an eastern Jefferson County plane crash Wednesday, authorities said.

Deputies responded to the crash involving a single-engine crop duster flown by 44-year-old Robert Bobby Guthrie at 1:47 p.m. Wednesday along U.S. 65 South east of Grider Field Airport at 709 Hangar Row in Pine Bluff.


According to a statement, the pilot's injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. 


No passengers were on board the aircraft, authorities said.

The Jefferson County sheriff's office said the Federal Aviation Administration has been notified of the crash. 


Source: http://www.arkansasonline.com

Weatherly 620B, N2005C, Agricair LLC: Fatal accident occurred August 26, 2015 near Hancock, Waushara County, Wisconsin

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

AGRICAIR LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N2005C

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Milwaukee FSDO-13

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA399 
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 26, 2015 in Hancock, WI
Aircraft: Weatherly Aviation Company Inc 620B, registration: N2005C
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 26, 2015, at 1130 central daylight time, a Weatherly Aircraft Company 620B, N2005C, impacted terrain during an aerial application of a field near Hancock, Wisconsin, after the left wing experienced an in-flight separation. The airplane was destroyed. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Agricair Leasing LLC and operated by Agricair Flying Service, Inc under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight that was not operating on a flight plan. The flight originated from Bancroft, Wisconsin at 1115 central daylight time.

The separation occurred at the "BRACKET, HINGE, FRONT, CENTER SECTION," part number 40223-014.


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




HANCOCK—The name of the pilot killed when a crop-dusting plane crashed to the ground Wednesday afternoon in a wooded area in the town of Hancock in Waushara County was released Thursday afternoon. 

Robert Dopp, 38, of Beldenville, died in the crash, according to a media release from the Waushara County Sheriff’s Office. The Federal Aviation Administration was at the scene Thursday, along with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, the release said. The land is owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The Waushara County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the crash at about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, and emergency responders were able to locate the wreckage of the plane and the pilot, who was deceased when they arrived at the scene, the release said.

The plane was carrying a large amount of hazardous material for spraying crops, which spilled, along with aircraft fuel, as a result of the crash, the release said. The spill made the situation more difficult for emergency responders.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture responded to assist with the cleanup, the release said. The first emergency responders who arrived at the scene of the crash were from the Waushara County Sheriff’s Office, Hancock Fire and Rescue, Waushara County Emergency Medical Services, Coloma Police Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol.




WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

HANCOCK (WAOW) – A pilot was killed when a crop-dusting plane crashed near Hancock on Wednesday, authorities said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said the pilot was the only person on board the Weatherly 620B plane when it went down.

Waushara County Sheriff Jeff Nett said the pilot was spraying potatoes and the plane carried hazardous materials, requiring emergency crews to go through a decontamination process.

The pilot's name or where the airplane was based were not immediately released.

Nett said the FAA is expected at the scene on Thursday.

Because of the hazardous materials, the state Department of Natural Resources was summoned, Nett said.

*****

HANCOCK (WAOW) – The Federal Aviation Administration says a crop-dusting plane crashed near Hancock on Wednesday.

FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the pilot was the only person on board the Weatherly 620B single-engine plane when it went down.

There was substantial damage to the aircraft but no information was immediately available on the condition of the pilot, Molinaro said in a telephone interview from Des Plaines, Ill.

The plane was spraying agriculture crops at the time, he said. 

Source: http://www.wkow.com



HANCOCK — The planes would normally have been busy roaring above farm fields, but sat quietly for hours after Damon Reabe heard the news.

Robert Dopp, 38, of Beldenville, died Aug. 26  when the crop-dusting plane he was flying crashed to the ground in a wooded area in the town of Hancock in Waushara County. Dopp was the only person aboard the plane when the crash occurred.

Damon Reabe is the president of Reabe Spraying Service, a crop-dusting business — or aerial application business, as he prefers it to be called — with a few locations across the state, including one in Plover. Dopp was not flying for Reabe Spraying Service, but Reabe still grounded all of his planes as soon as he found out about the crash out of concern for the safety of his own pilots.

“We wanted everybody to get their heads wrapped around what happened and deal with the grief,” he said.

The industry is small and close-knit, and the death of a pilot had an impact on all those involved, Reabe said.

“My reaction is just the same as anyone who has heard of the death of a friend,” he said. “You just feel extreme sadness.”

The investigation of the crash is being led by the National Transportation Safety Board with help from the Federal Aviation Administration, according to Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokeswoman for the FAA. The investigations of such crashes typically take a year or more to complete, Isham Cory said.

J.R. Reabe — Damon Reabe's uncle — is one of the owners of Reabe Spraying Service. He is a pilot, but doesn’t fly for the business. Instead, Reabe works in the office with a radio and a phone, managing other pilots.

Still, the crash made Reabe think closely about the work he does every day.

“It’s one of the things that anybody does in any industry when you hear of one of your people dying in a tragic accident,” he said. “You reflect on all the things you have to do.”

Reabe said Dopp, the victim of the plane crash, worked for his family while going to school, and a few of his relatives were customers. Reabe had limited interaction with Dopp, but still remembered him as a kind, hard-working young man.

“I understand this was a career he wanted to pursue and was a dream he had,” he said. “It was a tragic event.”

Reabe said the crash has not made him worry more about the safety of his own pilots, who often have thousands of hours of flight experience and take numerous safety precautions..

“It does make you think," he said. "It makes you think about everything you do every day.”

A report released last year by the National Transportation Safety Board identified a few factors common to crop-dusting plane crashes, including pilot fatigue, inadequate plane maintenance and a lack of risk management and guidance for pilots.

There are about 2,700 crop-dusting pilots working across the country, the report said.

The NTSB investigated 78 crop-dusting plane crashes across the country in 2013, including nine that resulted in a total of 10 fatalities, the report said. There were 802 crashes, including 81 that were fatal, from 2001 to 2010, the report said.

“In this industry, mistakes can be extremely costly,” Reabe said.

Damon Reabe said there are misconceptions, though, about the risks involved in flying for a crop-dusting business. The pilots take numerous safety precautions to try to prevent crashes, knowing they fly in more inherently risky situations than typical pilots, Reabe said.

The areas where pilots fly are meticulously mapped both by hand and using a computer, all with the intention of identifying potential hazards, such as power lines or antennas, Damon Reabe said.

The majority of the work for crop-dusting businesses happens during the warmer months, but maintenance of the planes is a priority for the entire year, Reabe said. Reabe Spraying Service employs seven full-time staff members who work to maintain eight planes, even in the off-season, Reabe said.

The planes are all equipped with safety harnesses and airbags, and pilots are all required to wear helmets and have their workloads managed to prevent fatigue, Reabe said.

It wasn’t easy to get back in a plane after hearing about the crash, but the work still needed to be done for the sake of the farmers and the food they produce, Reabe said.

“Without our industry, the production simply doesn’t happen,” he said.




HANCOCK—The name of the pilot killed when a crop-dusting plane crashed to the ground Wednesday afternoon in a wooded area in the town of Hancock in Waushara County was released Thursday afternoon. 

Robert Dopp, 38, of Beldenville, died in the crash, according to a media release from the Waushara County Sheriff’s Office. The Federal Aviation Administration was at the scene Thursday, along with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, the release said. The land is owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The Waushara County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the crash at about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, and emergency responders were able to locate the wreckage of the plane and the pilot, who was deceased when they arrived at the scene, the release said.

The plane was carrying a large amount of hazardous material for spraying crops, which spilled, along with aircraft fuel, as a result of the crash, the release said. The spill made the situation more difficult for emergency responders.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture responded to assist with the cleanup, the release said. The first emergency responders who arrived at the scene of the crash were from the Waushara County Sheriff’s Office, Hancock Fire and Rescue, Waushara County Emergency Medical Services, Coloma Police Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol.




WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

HANCOCK (WAOW) – A pilot was killed when a crop-dusting plane crashed near Hancock on Wednesday, authorities said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said the pilot was the only person on board the Weatherly 620B plane when it went down.

Waushara County Sheriff Jeff Nett said the pilot was spraying potatoes and the plane carried hazardous materials, requiring emergency crews to go through a decontamination process.

The pilot's name or where the airplane was based were not immediately released.

Nett said the FAA is expected at the scene on Thursday.

Because of the hazardous materials, the state Department of Natural Resources was summoned, Nett said.

*****

HANCOCK (WAOW) – The Federal Aviation Administration says a crop-dusting plane crashed near Hancock on Wednesday.

FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the pilot was the only person on board the Weatherly 620B single-engine plane when it went down.

There was substantial damage to the aircraft but no information was immediately available on the condition of the pilot, Molinaro said in a telephone interview from Des Plaines, Ill.

The plane was spraying agriculture crops at the time, he said. 

Source: http://www.wkow.com