Monday, August 31, 2015

Federal Aviation Administration warns six Miami towers could be too tall

The FAA notified developers of six high-rise towers in Miami in August that their proposed projects could be too tall, including two condo buildings by the Related Group.

The “notice of presumed hazard” letters are interim warnings and not final rulings. They’re based on the FAA’s initial findings that the towers could obstruct or have an adverse physical or electromagnetic effect on aircraft landing at Miami International Airport, which is west of downtown Miami.

The developers have 60 days to request that the FAA conduct further study and open for public comment, which could take an additional 120 days.

Miami-based Related Group got FAA letters on its Auberge Residences and Spa at 1400 Biscayne Blvd. and its unnamed residential/hotel tower at 444 Brickell Ave. The developer wanted Auberge to reach 530 feet and 444 Brickell to soar 635 feet, but the FAA recommended 445 feet and 465 feet, respectively.

Carlos Rosso, head of condo development at the Related Group, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Florida East Coast Realty got an FAA warning for its 1201 Brickell Bay, proposed with 955 feet and 787 residences. Yet, the FAA said those plans should be cut to 489 feet. FECR VP Dean Warhaft said he's been in touch with the FAA reviewers and he's confident the high-end condo project will be approved at 995 feet tall.

"This is really not a big deal. It's part of the process," Warhaft said.

New York-based Chetrit Group’s CG Miami River wants its mixed-use project on the Miami River to rise 622 feet, but the FAA said it should be restricted to 421 feet. Located at Southwest 3rd Avenue between Southwest 5th Street and Southwest 6th Street, the project would have a mix of residential, hotel, retail and office space. Chetrit representatives could not be reached for comment.

Louis R. Montello’s Regalia Beach Developers, the same group that built the Regalia condominium in Sunny Isles Beach, plan to build a 969-foot-tall Regalia Biscayne at 340 Biscayne Blvd. The property, currently a hotel, is under contract to be sold to them. Yet, the FAA said the tower should be only 457 feet tall.

The Elysee Residences aims to be the tallest condo tower in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood, but not if the FAA gets its way. Two Roads Development’s proposal for a 644-foot tower at 700 N.E. 23rd Street could be cut to 467 feet.

"We are aware, and were expecting, the FAA determination letter, which is a standard administrative notice and prerequisite to the commencement of the formal review process," Two Roads Development said in a statement. "Two Roads along with its counsel and consultants have been in continuous communication with the FAA administrator throughout the submission and are following the same protocols as we did with the Biscayne Beach application, which concluded with a determination of no hazard."

Executives for Regalia Beach Developers could not immediately be reached for comment.

It should be noted that the FAA’s findings are preliminary and further study could ease its height restrictions for these projects. Still, this is a reminder why Miami likely won’t have Dubai-style skyscrapers.

Original article can be found here:

Asian Pilot Demand Lifts Flight Schools: Boeing says region’s carriers will need over 200,000 new pilots in next two decades

The Wall Street Journal
Aug. 31, 2015 2:54 p.m. ET

SYDNEY—The outback Australian airstrips of Glenn Innes and Mangalore were built to repel potential Japanese invaders during World War II. Now, these runways and some near California’s wine country and in Arizona are looking to welcome droves of Asia’s student pilots.

These schools—some planned and some already operating—are aiming to tap the boom in commercial aviation in Asia, where a growing middle class with an itch to travel has made it the world’s largest market by annual passenger counts, according to the International Air Transport Association. But that surge has left carriers short of pilots, and safety concerns have underscored the need for good schools.

World-wide, the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization says as many as 8,000 new students a year are needed at commercial flight schools to keep up with demand, primarily from Asia. Recent training-academy acquisitions indicate that establishing schools to accommodate those needs could cost more than US$3 billion. Training a pilot takes about a year, depending on the student’s aptitude.

Asia has few flight schools or instructors, and the U.S. and Australia are popular places to train cadets because of their strong safety records. Fatality rates per one million departures for large commercial passenger aircraft from 2009 through 2013 were 29.9 for Asia, and 1.2 for North America, according to the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization.

The pilot training crisis is growing so acute that even manufacturers such as Boeing Co. and Airbus Group SE have begun calling for global action to develop more schools. Without new pilots, some of the 14,330 new planes Boeing predicts Asian airlines will need across the next 20 years won’t be able to be put into service, costing manufacturers billions in lost orders. In total, Boeing forecasts Asian airlines need 226,000 new pilots in the next two decades, more than North America, Europe and Africa combined.

Among the student pilots at the Australian Wings Academy, a school near the Gold Coast, is Kelvin Hsu, a 38-year-old former office worker from Taipei, Taiwan. He says that last year, after he quit his job and left his family to chase his dream of being a pilot, he chose the Australian school over an Asian one because he felt the best airlines would hire only those pilots trained overseas.

“I decided to come here to get a higher-quality pilot training,” he says, adding that he expects his job prospects are good. “By the end of my training there will be a huge pilot shortage.”

Despite the boom, however, it is tough to make a profit training pilots.

New colleges require fleets of aircraft, runway refurbishments and boarding houses. After that, operators still face the difficulty of getting contracts with airlines—a task that can be fickle because the business is cyclical. Many schools are small, training 100 students or fewer, making profitability a challenge.

School operators also complain that some students have fabricated English credentials, which can make training more time-consuming, because the instruction must begin at a more rudimentary level, and more costly, because full-time English tutors might be needed.

Phil Sweeney, who runs a pilot training academy in California’s Napa Valley, plans to double its student numbers to 400 in the next few years. But he adds that this isn’t likely to solve Asia’s pilot shortage because many other schools are struggling to stay open.

“It is a very risky area to get into,” says Mike Drinkall, general manager at the CAE Oxford Aviation Academy in the suburbs of the Australian city of Melbourne.

New schools are banking on scale to help them succeed, and looking to take over remote airports in the U.S. and the Australian outback to cut the costs often associated with training pilots at busy city airports.

CAE this year announced a rare deal to train as many as 650 China Eastern Airlines Corp. cadets during the next five years. CAE, a Canadian training firm, sold a 50% stake in its Melbourne school to China Eastern for an undisclosed sum as part of the deal to ensure the two parties shared this risk.

In Glenn Innes, a town in Australia’s New South Wales state once famed for tin and sapphire mines, a consortium known as Australia Asia Flight Training, led by airline veterans including the former deputy general manager of defunct national carrier Ansett Australia, reached a deal with the local council to take over the airport there.

The consortium is trying to raise about 25 million Australian dollars, or roughly US$18 million, to build the first stage of what could be the world’s largest pilot training facility, with the potential through further investment to train 1,000 new pilots each year. The students would mostly come from Asia, according to Neil Hansford, one of the businessmen behind the project. The school plans to seal contracts with airlines after its facilities are built, Mr. Hansford said.

In Kempsey, an old sawmilling town less than 200 kilometers away from Glenn Innes, Hainan Airlines Co., China’s biggest privately owned carrier and its fourth-largest in terms of fleet size, recently announced a plan to build a 300-cadet-per-year pilot academy at the small local airport.

China Southern Airlines Co., which has grown to become Asia’s largest carrier, already trains 250 cadets a year at a college in the Western Australian wheat farming town of Merreden, and roughly 100 more in a remote former military base in Mangalore near Australia’s southeastern seaboard.

New pilot training schools are also popping up across the U.S. In California’s Napa Valley wine district, Mr. Sweeney in 2014 reopened a training academy that had failed when it was operated by Japan Airlines Co., which spent roughly two years in bankruptcy protection starting in 2010, mainly because of its high debt combined with a slump in travel after the global financial crisis. Mr. Sweeney plans to rapidly ramp up capacity to keep costs down.

TransPac Aviation Academy at Deer Valley Airport near Phoenix has also been strengthening its relationship with Hainan Airlines, and now aims to train about 400 Chinese pilots each year.

Original article can be found here:

Cessna TTx T240, N452CS, H2 Aviation LLC: Accident occurred August 31, 2015 near West Houston Airport (KIWS), Harris County, Texas

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report:

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary  -  National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA392
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 31, 2015 in Houston, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/14/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA T240, registration: N452CS
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 flight instructor reported that, before the instructional flight with the private pilot began, the fuel tanks were filled to capacity and he visually checked the quantity of the fuel in the tanks during the preflight. The flight instructor reported that, after taking off and completing the instrument flight rules training procedures, they returned to the airport and performed three full-stop landings. During the final takeoff, as the airplane was about 300 ft above ground level, the engine experienced a total loss of power. The flight instructor took control of the airplane and subsequently conducted a forced landing to a field. The airplane landed, continued moving into trees, and then came to rest upright with the right main landing gear collapsed. 

A postaccident examination and three engine test runs were conducted, and no anomies were noted that would have precluded normal operation. The left fuel tank was found empty, and the right fuel tank contained about 25 gallons. Although the fuel selector valve was found in the “left off” position, it is likely that the left tank was selected during the accident flight and that the engine was starved of the available fuel.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation, which resulted from the pilot’s inadequate fuel management and the flight instructor’s failure to verify the fuel level and fuel selector position in flight.

On August 31, 2015, about 1230 central daylight time, a Cessna T240 airplane, N452CS, made a forced landing after departure from the West Houston Airport (IWS), Houston, Texas. The flight instructor and private pilot receiving instruction were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to H2 Aviation LLC and operated by the West Houston Airport under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The local flight was departing at the time of the accident. 

According to the flight instructor, they were conducting an instructional flight which included IFR training procedures. After the IFR training was completed, they returned to IWS and performed three full stop landings. On the final takeoff from IWS, they were about 300 ft above ground level when the engine experienced a total loss of power. The flight instructor took control and conducted a forced landing to a field beyond the departure end of the runway. The airplane landed and continued into trees where it came to rest upright with the right main landing gear collapsed. The instructor secured the airplane and called for assistance using a handheld radio. He reported that before the flight began, the fuel tanks were filled to capacity, which was 102 usable gallons. During the preflight inspection, the fuel quantity was verified and there were no contaminants observed. During the flight, both pilots switched the fuel selector in order to maintain fuel balance in the left and right tanks. Before the final takeoff, the fuel quantity gauges reportedly indicated 20 gallons on the left and 21 gallons on the right. Prior to the loss of power there were no digital or aural warnings noted from the crew-alerting system (CAS). He reported that the flight only lasted 1.81 hours and the average fuel consumption was 30 gallons per hour (gph); the airplane would have consumed about 54 of the 102 available gallons, leaving 48 gallons remaining. 

Several law enforcement officers arrived shortly after the accident and secured the scene. It was reported that fuel was leaking from the right wing fuel vent at the accident site. A plug was placed in the vent and no other fuel leakage was reportedly observed. The amount of fuel that leaked from the right tank was unknown. 

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that after the accident, the fuel selector knob was on the left OFF position and the emergency fuel pump was ON. The investigation could not determine when the emergency fuel pump was switched to ON. 

According to the FAA air traffic control (ATC) report, the airplane departed about 0953, the IFR flight plan was canceled at 1151 and the accident occurred about 39 minutes later. The flight was about 2.5 hours total. Using the pilot's average fuel consumption number (30 gph), the airplane would have consumed about 75 of the 102 available gallons, leaving 27 gallons remaining. 

On September 10, 2015, three engine test runs were conducted under the supervision of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. The Continental Motors engine remained attached to the airframe with no significant damage noted. The accident propeller had been replaced with another propeller for the test runs. The engine oil level was noted at 5 quarts. The airplane master switch was turned ON and the left fuel quantity gauge indicated 0 gallons, the right fuel quantity gauge indicated 25 gallons. All three test runs were conducted with the remaining fuel in the right tank. During the first engine run, the engine was warmed up at idle and a magneto check was completed in accordance with the checklist. No anomalies were noted. The engine power was then increased to 25 inches of mercury (in.hg) manifold pressure (MAP) and the engine was allowed to stabilize. The throttle was then advanced to the full forward position. Due to the condition of the engine mounts, it had been predetermined that after full power was reached the throttle would be reduced back to 25 in.hg MAP. As the throttle was reduced, a propeller pitch oscillation was noted. The engine was subsequently allowed to stabilize and cool down at idle before it was shut down in accordance with the checklist. Due to the pitch oscillation, a second engine run was conducted. During this run, a magneto check was again completed and the propeller was cycled. The engine was again advanced to maximum power. No propeller oscillation was heard during the throttle reduction. The engine power was set to 25 in.hg MAP and the electric boost pump was actuated. The engine subsequently experienced a total loss of power. A third engine run was conducted. With the engine at 25 in.hg MAP, the fuel selector was moved to the LEFT tank position; within one minute the engine experienced a total loss of power. The digital instruments and CAS functioned normally during the engine runs. The engine examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. 

As stated pilot's operating handbook, if the emergency fuel pump switch is switched to the ON position with the engine-driven fuel pump operating normally, total loss of engine power may occur. The engine manufacturer stated that when the engine is producing high power and the emergency fuel pump is ON, the engine can generally handle the extra fuel and the engine won't lose power. If the engine is at a lower power setting and the emergency fuel pump is ON, the engine is more likely to lose power.

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA392
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 31, 2015 in Houston, TX
Aircraft: CESSNA T240, registration: N452CS
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to chan
ge, 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 31, 2015, about 1230 central daylight time, a Cessna T240 airplane, N452CS, made a forced landing after departure from the West Houston Airport (IWS), Houston, Texas. The flight instructor and private pilot under instruction were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to H2 Aviation LLC and operated by the West Houston Airport as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and the flight was operated an in instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident. 

According to the flight instructor they were performing the last touch-and go landing. They had just departed from IWS and were about 200-300 ft. above the ground when the engine experienced a loss of power. The flight instructor conducted a forced landing into a field beyond the departure end of the runway. The airplane landed and continued into trees where it came to rest upright. 

The airplane has been retained for further examination.

FAA  Flight Standards District Office: FAA Houston FSDO-09

WEST HOUSTON (Covering Katy) – A Cessna TTx T240 airplane force landed in a section of Cullen Park near the runway of the West Houston Airport early Monday afternoon. There were no injuries according to Houston Police.

The plane crashed in a field designated as an “airport safety area” across the street from the airport runway, inside Cullen Park.

Houston Police say there were two men flying in the aircraft when it went down. A Texas State Trooper who was also on the scene told Covering Katy the men said their engine failed shortly after takeoff.

There was a small amount of debris in the field where the plane crashed. It came to rest against a small tree where the field ends and the brush and trees begin.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have been alerted and an investigator is expected to be at the scene later today.

The Westlake Fire Department also responded to the scene.

A small plane force landed Monday afternoon in a wooded area near West Houston Airport.

Harris County sheriff's deputies and Westlake Volunteer Fire Department firefighters responded to a location near the airport at 18000 Groschke Road in west Harris County.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said two men inside the plane were practicing a touch-and go landing when they experienced engine failure.

They were able to land the plane but it went off the runway.

Sky 2 aerials show the Cessna TTx T240 plane rested partially in some brush about 1/4 mile away from the airport runway.

DPS said no one was injured.

Lancair IVP, N864KM: Accident occurred August 30, 2015 near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (KFXE), Broward County, Florida

Sonia and Ken McKenzie

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Ken McKenzie 

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA332
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 30, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Aircraft: LANCAIR IV, registration: N864KM
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Uninjured.

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 30, 2015, about 1055 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Lancair IV-P, N564KM, was destroyed by collision with terrain and a postcrash fire during a forced landing after takeoff from the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries, and the passenger was not injured. The privately owned and operated airplane was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual flight rules conditions were reported at the airport about the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight destined for Lynchburg Regional Airport (LYH), Lynchburg, Virginia.

According to the pilot, during a climb to cruise he noticed that the engine's oil pressure dropped to 9 psi. He declared an emergency with air traffic control (ATC) due to the low oil pressure indication and requested to return to FXE. ATC provided radar vectors and cleared the airplane for the visual approach to runway 9. Shortly thereafter, the pilot contacted the FXE tower controller and reported an "engine failure." The pilot made a forced landing on a levee located 5 miles west of the approach end of runway 9. During the landing rollout, the airplane veered off the levee, collided with a ditch, and caught fire.

The airplane was recovered and the engine was retained for examination. During the examination of the engine puncture holes were discovered in both upper crankcase halves. Further examination revealed that no measurable amount oil could be drained from the engine. All of the spark plugs were removed and displayed a sooty appearance. The cylinders were removed and the cylinder attaching hardware torque and break away torque was checked and found within manufactures specifications; the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 pistons and cylinder skirts were damaged. The No. 1 piston exhibited signatures consistent with a valve strike on the dome. The oil sump was removed and contained pieces of connecting rod, rod bolts, rod bearing, and aluminum material in the bottom of the sump.

The crankcase was separated and the main bearings were not damaged. All of the bearing tabs were intact and no fretting was noted on the thru-bolt bosses. There was no evidence of bearing shift and the crankcase mating surfaces were machined. Puncture holes were also noted on bottom right crankcase half below the No. 1 cylinder. No obstructions were found in the crankcase oil galleries. Prior to removal, the camshaft was bent forward of the rear journal.

The crankshaft was removed and disassembled, the main journals had a normal operating appearance. The No. 1 connecting rod journal was found burnt and deformed. The No. 4 connecting rod journal was found burnt; the No. 2, No. 3, No. 5 and No. 6 connecting rod journals had a normal operating appearance. Examination of the connecting rod bearings revealed the No. 1 rod bearing was located in oil sump and found burnt and wiped. The No. 4 rod bearing was found burnt and wiped but was still contained within the rod and cap; No.2, No. 3, No. 5, and No.6 rod bearings indicated signs of lubrication distress.

The oil pump was disassembled and scoring was present in the internal oil pump housing and oil pump gear facing. Metal contamination was present in the oil relief valve. The oil filter was removed and opened for examination. The filter element exhibited metal contamination (aluminum & steel).

A visual examination of both turbochargers revealed one turbocharger had a normal grayish coloration on the internal turbine blades, while the other turbocharger was found blackend and oily on the turbine and compressor impeller blades.

The turbochargers were sent to Hartzell Engine Technologies for further examination and identified as urbo A (serial No. tKL01420), and turbo B (serial No. KFN00434). Examination of the turbo A revealed the turbocharger was overhauled by Main Turbo Systems. The turbocharger rotating assembly spun freely with no indication of compressor or turbine rub. Both the axial and radial end play was within specification. The turbocharger assembly was consistent with the design data and there was no evidence of mechanical malfunction. The internal lubrication passages were present with no indications of concern. The turbocharger was dry and displayed evidence of internal and external corrosion.

Examination of turbo B revealed that it was also overhauled by Main Turbo Systems. The turbocharger rotating assembly spun freely with no indication of compressor or turbine rub. Both the axial and radial end play was within specification. The turbocharger assembly was consistent with the design data and there was no evidence of mechanical malfunction. The internal lubrication passages were present with no indications of concern. There was evidence of foreign material in the center housing, on the thrust bearing, and on the thrust collar. Evidence of "burnt" oil was discovered on the external surfaces of turbocharger. The turbo was dissembled and it was revealed that oil residue was evident on the backside of the compressor wheel. Further examination also revealed oil residue on the turbo backplate.

A review of the engine logbook entries revealed that both turbochargers were removed and replaced by the pilot/mechanic with overhauled units two days prior to the accident flight. The entry in the logbook noted, "three engine test runs/operational checks and conducted leak check in accordance with SB no. 23, dated Feb 8, 2006. No leak/discrepancies noted at this time."

An examination of the foreign material located in the center housing of the turbo was conducted. The unknown material was examined using a Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer with a diamond attenuated total reflectance (ATR) accessory in accordance to ASTM E1252-98 (American Society for Testing Materials E1252- 98). The spectrum was consistent with a straight-chained aliphatic hydrocarbon. A spectral library search found a very strong spectral match to polyethylene.

During the shipment of the turbochargers, polyethylene protective caps and plugs were used to plug the oil line openings. These protective caps and plugs must be removed before installation. The turbocharger overhauler provided instruction and warning tags with the units, one of which stated, "Remove all protective caps and plugs BEFORE installing this turbocharger."

 MIAMI (WSVN) -- A pilot recovering in the hospital is thanking God after his plane crash-landed in the Everglades.

Pilot Ken McKenzie told 7News that he credits his faith and his military experience for getting himself and his wife out just in time. "I opened the door, jumped out. Everything was engulfed in flames. I turned around and Sonia was working to get out of her seatbelt, so I grabbed a hold of her," he said.

He is expected to recover after several days at Jackson Memorial Hospital, but as he looks over at his wife, who only received a cut and bruises from the crash, he is simply grateful he was able to lead her to safety. Officials released the 911 call that was made during the landing. "It appears he has gone down about 11 miles North, Northwest," the caller said. "We don't know if he's in the road, or if he's in the Everglades or anything. We've lost contact with him."

McKenzie said that he is astonished how his training from the military instantly resurfaced. "With the time I spent in the Air Force, we did a lot of training on jet aircraft and how to get out of an aircraft on the ground," he said. "It was funny how all those thoughts came back."

As an experienced pilot, he described how his decades of aviation and service in the Canadian Armed Forces served him well. "He's lucky to not have more severe burns given the nature of the accident," said Dr. Carl Schulman, of Jackson Memorial Hospital's University of Miami Burn Center.

Schulman described McKenzie's second degree burns that cover up eight percent of his body as painful.

Still, the McKenzie family's faith has not faltered. "It's in the book of Isaiah, and it's about God's angels who will take care of the distress and that fire that surrounds you," said the pilot's wife, Sonia McKenzie.

McKenzie's eldest daughter, Monika McKenzie, who they were flying to visit in Virginia calls him her hero. "Even while he's laying in his hospital bed, and he's doing this for me, he's thinking about others," she said.

"When I look at all of what could have gone much worse than it did, I think we have a great deal of faith that there's a plan for our lives," McKenzie said.

Doctors said that McKenzie may be a perfect candidate for a stem cell trial that speeds the recovery process in burn patients only offered at this hospital.

MIAMI (WSVN) -- The pilot of a small plane is recovering in the hospital, hours after he and his wife crash-landed in the Everglades, off the Sawgrass Expressway, Sunday morning. 

Authorities said Ken McKenzie and his wife Sonia were heading to Lynchburg, Va. on board a Lancair IV-P when, shortly after takeoff from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, they ran into mechanical issues. "The pilot told his wife that they had engine problems with the oil pressure, and ultimately an engine failure," said Broward Sheriff's Office spokesperson Mike Jachles.

Faced with the certainty that the single engine aircraft was not going to stay airborne, McKenzie reportedly opted to head for an access road surrounded by mangroves and water near the Broward-Palm Beach County line, just before noon.

Witnesses fishing in the area said they were stunned by the commotion. "I see an ambulance coming down with lights on," said Julie Podmokly.

Officials released the 911 call made after the plane made its emergency landing. "He's in the Coral Springs vicinity. It appears he's gone down about 11 miles north-northwest," said the caller.

"How many souls on board?" asked the dispatcher.

"Two souls on board," responded the caller.

A thick black column of smoke helped rescue crews locate the couple. Dramatic photographs taken by the Coral Springs Fire Department captured the Lancair's charred remains. "The aircraft was completely destroyed by the flames. It's barely recognizable," said Coral Springs Fire Division Chief Mike Moser.

Jachles said McKenzie and his wife were injured, but they were able to exit the aircraft at the right time. "They were both really lucky to get out of the wreckage and sustain as minimal injuries as they did considering the impact," he said.

McKenzie was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he is spending his birthday Monday, receiving treatment for severe burns he sustained after the crash.

Sonia was airlifted to Broward Health North, where she was listed in good condition. She was later released and spoke to the media about the frightening flight. "Really, really odd. It was almost surreal, as if I was watching it in a movie," she said. "We just spun around really quickly, and he had already unlatched the door like you're supposed to on approaching an emergency landing, and he said, 'Sonia, we have to get out.' He went to jump out, I undid our seat belts I noticed his wasn't, and he ran out onto the wing."

Sonia continued, "As soon as we touched down, there was orange and red flames everywhere. He jumped out, reached back to grab my hand," she said.

Investigators said the pilot's professional experience may have helped prevent a tragic outcome. McKenzie, a father of two, is a dedicated Calvary Chapel board member who works for Airbus Group. He spent 14 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. "I think our faith in God just ... I knew we were gonna be OK. If it was gonna be our time, it was gonna be our time, and apparently it's not, so we're here for a little longer, and I think God has a purpose for our life," said Sonia.

The crash remains under investigation.

Story and video:

A day after a pilot suffered burns during a fiery crash landing in the Everglades, he remained hospitalized in stable condition while his wife and passenger in the single-engine aircraft was treated and released. 

Kenneth McKenzie, former chief operating officer of Spirit Airlines and Canadian Armed Forces pilot, marked his 53rd birthday Monday at Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.

After Sonia McKenzie's release from Broward Health North, she told reporters she remained "surprisingly calm" during the dramatic landing into a levee in the Everglades near the Broward-Palm Beach county line.

"We just spun around super quickly," Sonia McKenzie, 50, said. "As soon as we touched down there were orange and red flames everywhere."

A 911 call from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport reporting that an airplane in the Coral Springs area had gone down came in at 10:44 a.m. Sunday.

"It appears he's gone down," the tower told the 911 dispatcher. "We don't know if he's in the road or if he's in the Everglades or anything, we've lost contact with him."

Shortly after the Fort Lauderdale couple departed the airport in a Lancair IV-P aircraft bound for Lynchburg, Va. they reported low oil pressure, authorities said.

The pilot told air traffic controllers he was unable to return to the airport and would attempt to land on a road near the Everglades, an FAA spokesman said.

Sonia McKenzie said that as they made their descent, her husband unlatched the door and told her: "'Sonia, we have to get out.'"

"It was almost surreal," she said, "like watching a movie."

After the plane went down, a thick column of black smoke rose into the air followed by gunshot-like explosions nearby anglers said.

Within minutes, a Broward Sheriff's Office helicopter landed a couple hundred feet from the burning aircraft. They were joined by Coral Springs firefighters who used foam and water to douse the flames.

The survivors were standing on the levee when firefighters arrived. The aircraft was completely destroyed.

Sonia McKenzie credited their survival to her husband's piloting experience and quick-thinking.

"I think God has a purpose for our life," she said.