Thursday, September 17, 2015

Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance, TLT and GGB LLC, N5802V: Fatal accident occurred May 08, 2015 near Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK), Atlanta, Georgia

TLT AND GGB LLC:  http://registry.faa.gov/N5802V 

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA208
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 08, 2015 in Atlanta, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/31/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R-300, registration: N5802V
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Several days before the accident flight, the commercial pilot told his mechanic and flight instructor that the airplane had not been climbing well. The pilot had completed an engine run-up and subsequent test flight, and found no anomalies with the airplane. The accident flight was the second leg of a cross-country trip that originated earlier in the morning. During the accident takeoff, the pilot stated to air traffic control that the airplane was having trouble climbing. The airplane subsequently collided with terrain about 2 miles from the runway.

Postaccident testing of the fuel manifold showed that it was not operating normally and was contaminated with debris. The composition of debris and its origin could not be determined, but it was likely that the debris moved within the fuel manifold during operation and resulted in fluctuating power indications. Examination of the engine did not reveal any mechanical anomalies. Although the airplane was likely loaded 24 pounds in excess of its maximum gross weight, takeoff distance calculations showed that sufficient runway was available when loaded at the maximum gross weight for the departure and climb, assuming nominal performance of the airplane, engine, and pilot. Given that the airplane was having difficulty climbing, as communicated by the pilot to air traffic control during the departure, it is likely that during the takeoff, the debris in the fuel manifold prevented the engine from obtaining full power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

A partial loss of engine power due to contamination in the fuel manifold, which resulted in a collision with terrain shortly after takeoff.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT


On May 8, 2015, about 0959 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-300, N5802V, collided with a highway barrier during a forced landing attempt near Chamblee, Georgia. The commercial pilot and three passengers were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by TLT and GGBB LLC., as a personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The flight originated from Peachtree DeKalb airport (PDK), Chamblee, Georgia, about 0956 and was destined for University-Oxford Airport (UOX), Oxford, Mississippi.

The accident flight was the second leg of a cross-country flight that originated earlier that morning from Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), Asheville, North Carolina.

Review of air traffic control (ATC) voice communication data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot contacted clearance delivery for an IFR clearance. ATC provided the clearance, which included radar vectors, and "climb and maintain 3,000; expect 8,000 in 10 minutes." The pilot read back the clearance correctly and confirmed that he had the most recent automatic terminal information service, which was information "Whiskey." The pilot contacted ground control and indicated that he was ready to taxi. Ground control instructed the pilot to taxi to runway 3R, via taxiway Bravo, hold short of runway 3L and the pilot read back the instructions correctly. The pilot then contacted the tower controller, informing him that he was holding short of runway 3L and ready to depart. The tower controller instructed the pilot to "fly heading 360 and cleared for takeoff." The pilot then questioned the controller regarding which runway to take off from and the controller cleared the pilot for takeoff from runway 3L, which was 3,746 feet long. Approximately 3 minutes after departure, the tower controller called the pilot to verify his heading. The pilot responded "zero-two-victor, I'm having some problem climbing here." The pilot subsequently stated "zero-two-victor; were going down here at the intersection." This was the last transmission made by the pilot.

A witness stated that he was about 2,300 feet off the departure end of the runway. He stopped to look at the airplane because it was moving extremely slow and only 75 to 100 feet above ground level when it went over his head. He added that the engine sounded normal and despite the slow speed. He continued to watch the airplane as it flew out of his view.

Another witness that observed the airplane prior to the accident said he heard a "clacking sound," but the engine rpm did not change. The engine sounded like it was at "wide open throttle" as it descended onto the highway and exploded.

According to the pilot's mechanic, about 4 days prior to the accident flight, the mechanic observed a departure conducted by the pilot. He said that during climbout he watched as the airplane cleared trees at the departure end of the runway by approximately 50 feet. He added that shortly after that flight, the pilot called him and expressed his concern that the airplane was not climbing well. The mechanic mentioned to him that it was a warm day, and he was only a few hundred pounds under gross weight, with a slight tailwind. The mechanic further stated that the pilot said that he would do a run-up and if everything checked out, he would conduct a test flight the next day. The following day the pilot sent a text message to the mechanic and said that the run-up was good, but he wasn't getting full rpm at full power while static. About 30 minutes later, the pilot called the mechanic and told him he flew the airplane and everything was normal.

According to pilot's flight instructor, he said that the pilot called him 4 days prior to the accident flight and told him that he went flying and had some difficulty getting the airplane to gain altitude. He said that he had used up more than half of the runway when he was able to finally get the airplane in the air. The pilot told the instructor that he almost hit the trees near the end of the runway. The pilot also stated to the flight instructor that he did conduct "pre and post flight engine checks and noted no problems."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. He reported a total flight experience of 667 hours, including 40 hours during the last 6 months, on his FAA second-class medical certificate application, dated November 18, 2014. The medical certificate indicated no restrictions. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed he had accumulated 687 total hours; of which, 672 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 1977. It was powered by a Lycoming O-540-K1G5D engine rated at 300 horsepower at 2,700 rpm, and was equipped with a Hartzell three-bladed constant speed propeller.

The last annual inspection of the airframe and engine occurred on July 22, 2014, at an airframe total time of 5616.03 hours. The last recorded maintenance included the installation of a battery on May 5, 2015.

The airplane's maintenance logbooks were not located and were presumed to have burned in the aircraft wreckage. Copies of airframe and engine logbook entries dated July 22, 2014 were provided by the mechanic who completed an annual inspection of the airplane on that date. The airframe logbook entry noted the tachometer hour meter reading and airframe total time as 5616.03 hours. The engine logbook entry indicated that the engine had accumulated 774.86 hours since major overhaul, as of that date.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The recorded weather at PDK, at 0953, included winds from 080 degrees at 4 knots; 6 statute miles visibility, few clouds at 6,000 feet, temperature 24 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature 16 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.14 inches of mercury. The calculated density altitude was about 2,259 feet.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was located in the eastbound lane of interstate 285, approximately 2 miles from PDK. The airplane came to rest in the left service lane against a 5 foot barrier wall on a heading of 021 degrees magnetic. There was a postcrash fire that consumed the majority of the airplane. There were ground scars across four traffic lanes up to the concrete highway divider.
The cockpit and fuselage were fragmented and destroyed by postcrash fire. Flight control cables were attached to fragments of the flight controls. The right and left wings were fragmented and was destroyed by postcrash fire. The flight control surfaces were molten metal on both wings. The aileron bellcranks on the left and right wings were located within the fragments of the wings and connected to the flight control cables and turnbuckles. Flight control cable separations exhibited signs of overstress failures. The empennage was fragmented and fire damaged. The flight control cables to the rudder control sector and stabilator bell crank remained attached to the fragmented fuselage and were traced to the forward section of the cockpit.
The left and right main landing gear were found in the extended position and the flap handle was impact damaged and observed in the 10-degree flap extension position. The throttle was found forward in the "full power" position, the propeller lever was forward at the "full increase" position, and the mixture lever was full forward at the "full rich" position. The fuel boost pump switch and selector was destroyed. Engine control linkage continuity was established from the cockpit controls to their respective engine connections.

An examination of the fuel system revealed that the all of the fuel lines before the firewall were destroyed. The fuel lines from the firewall to the fuel manifold were partially fire damaged. The fuel manifold and injector lines did not show signs of fire damage. The fuel manifold was removed during the examination of the engine and placed on a test bench and did not flow when tested up to 7 psi (normal test pressure is 4.5 psi). The unit was removed from the test bench and the bottom cover was removed. Following removal of the bottom cover, the gasket did not exhibit heat damage. The bottom portion of the movable portion of the body assembly was measured and found to be positioned 0.032 inch below the spool of the body assembly (normal closed position). The bottom of the movable portion of the body assembly was pushed by hand and some resistance was noted at first, but it then moved. The bottom cover was reinstalled and the four screws were torqued to the proper setting. The fuel manifold was placed on the test bench and debris was noted coming from the ports during initial flow. The unit was flowed at 4.5 psi (normal) and it was found to flow equally from all ports at 132 pounds-per-hour (pph); the minimum specification was 135 pph. The fuel manifold was removed from the test bench and the top cover, which was safety wired, was removed. Test bench fluid was noted on the top side of the diaphragm (air side) and some slivers of material were also noted. The movable portion of the body assembly was removed and contamination/debris was noted. Re-insertion of the movable portion of the body assembly into the body revealed slight binding.

The debris recovered from the fuel manifold was forwarded to the NTSB Materials Laboratory and examined using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The spectrum for the debris contained peaks that corresponded to signatures indicative that the material contained a carboxylic acid. A spectral library search was done on the debris spectrum. There were no strong matches found in the search; however, the debris spectrum had many similarities to several dicarboxylic acids, such as terephthalic acid and isophthalic acid. Carboxylic acids are pervasive in nature and are often found as precursors in polymer production, in adhesives and coatings, and are often naturally present in fuel as well as used as fuel additives (corrosion inhibitors and lubricity improving additives).

During examination of the fuel servo, it was noted that it was fire damaged. Due to the heat damage of the diaphragms, the unit could not be flow tested.

Examination of the propeller revealed that one blade was fractured off the hub. The spinner dome separated from the spinner bulkhead. All three blades exhibited rotational scoring and curling of the blade tips. There were impression marks on the preload plates indicating that the propeller was in the low blade angle position prior to impact. The propeller showed signs of power ON prior to impact. There were no discrepancies noted that would preclude normal operation. All damage was consistent with impact damage.

The propeller governor was mounted in a governor test stand and run through the standard factory acceptance test procedure for new or overhauled governors. The governor functioned normally and met all factory specifications, except for the maximum rpm. The governor maximum rpm setting was 2,660 rpm verses a factory specification of 2,555 +/- 10. Although the high rpm setting was higher than factory specifications, it did not affect the governor performance. A higher than specified rpm setting indicated an adjustment was made to the governor high rpm stop while installed on the airplane. The governor was then disassembled for visual examination of the governor components. There were no unserviceable conditions noted during the visual examination.

Examination of the engine revealed it was discolored consistent with exposure to the postimpact fire. The propeller and crankshaft flange were separated from the engine. The crankshaft flange was impact damaged. The left side of the exhaust system was crushed. The engine accessories were fire damaged. Both crankcase halves were fractured in the area of the No. 1 and No. 2 cylinders. The No. 2 cylinder head on the left side was impact damaged. The engine mount was bent and the engine was displaced toward the firewall. Three of the four engine mounts were impact fractured. The engine could not be rotated by turning the crankshaft flange due to impact damage and was further disassembled to examine the engine internal components. The cylinders were removed and no damage noted to the cylinders, pistons or valves other than fire and impact damage. The oil sump was removed and contained an unmeasured quantity of oil. The accessory case was removed and no damage to the rear gears was noted. The oil pump was disassembled and no damage to the pump bore or gears was noted. The crankcase halves were disassembled and the crankshaft and rod assembly was lifted out. The rods were free to rotate on the crankshaft rod journals and were not disassembled. The crankshaft main journals and crankshaft bearing surfaces did not show any anomalies. The camshaft was removed and no damage noted to the crankcase camshaft bearing surfaces. No damage was noted to the camshaft except that the cam lobe, which serviced the No. 3 intake and the No. 4 exhaust cam followers were worn. The cam lobe was measured at 1.364 inches using an uncalibrated dial caliper. The No. 4 exhaust lobe was measured at 1.464 inches. The No. 3 intake and No. 4 exhaust cam followers were pitted and worn.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the DeKalb County Medical Examiner, Decatur Georgia.

The Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot with negative results for drugs and alcohol.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The weight and balance record dated August 24, 1999, noted the airplane's empty weight to be 2,154 lbs. According to the Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) the maximum takeoff and landing weight for this aircraft was 3,600 lbs. With full fuel (94 gallons useable), an estimated cargo weight of 216 lbs, and reported pilot and passengers weights of 690 lbs, the total weight computed was 3,624 lbs. According to fueling records the airplane was topped off with 20 gallons of fuel prior to departure. The estimated cargo weight was based on the fire damaged items that were collected during the airplane recovery.

The airplane's calculated takeoff distance assuming that it was loaded to its maximum gross weight, the flaps were set to 25 degrees, and given the weather conditions reported about the time of the accident, was about 1,050 feet. The distance required to clear a 50-foot barrier was about 2,000 feet.

Four days before his plane crashed into a median on I-285, killing everyone on board, former Asheville police officer Greg Byrd told his mechanic and flight instructor he was having trouble elevating his single-engine aircraft on take off.

The mechanic estimated only 50 feet separated Byrd’s Piper Lance from trees at the end of the runway at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Byrd, traveling with his sons Christopher and Phillip and Christopher’s fiancee, Jackie Kulzer, was en route to Oxford, Miss. to attend his youngest son’s graduation.

Three minutes after take-off, Byrd told the control tower he was “having some trouble climbing” before reporting he was “going down at the intersection.” A witness told NTSB investigators the engine sounded like it was at “wide open throttle” before it crashed, exploding into flames.

According to the NTSB, the plane was 24 pounds above the maximum takeoff and landing weight for the aircraft.

The report details evidence collected by investigators but offers no opinions on what may have caused the May 2015 crash, which brought traffic in both directions to a standstill for hours but resulted in no injuries on the ground. The NTSB’s final report on the crash is expected next month.



ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has obtained audio recordings of a pilot’s conversation with a control tower just before his plane crashed into Interstate 285 last May, killing all four people aboard. 

The recording reveals a fairly calm Greg Byrd as he prepares for takeoff from DeKalb Peachtree Airport May 8.

The tower at the airport clears Byrd for takeoff, and a short time later Byrd calls the tower, giving his first indication there is a problem.

“Having some trouble climbing here,” Byrd called into the tower.

A short time later, Byrd calls back to the tower to let them know he is going down.

Byrd: “Uh … we’re going to be down here in (inaudible)…”
     
Tower: “Say again?

After a short pause Byrd comes back, saying, “We’re going to be down here in the intersection ...”

That was the last the tower had communication with the plane.

A short time later, other people could be heard calling into the tower to report they could see smoke.

 “Did you notice the smoke off the end of runway three right?” someone called into the tower.

“Hold short three left there's smoke off the runway three right,” the tower said.

“Clarify that No. 5802 victor crashed on departure?”

“That is correct ... about 1 and a half, 2 miles away from airport.”

The plane ended up crashing on Interstate 285,  killing pilot Greg Byrd, his sons Phillip and Christopher Byrd and Christopher’s fiancĂ©e, Jackie Kulzer.

FAA records show the single engine Piper airplane took off from DeKalb Peachtree Airport just before 10 a.m. May 8.

Records show the plane was headed to Oxford, Mississippi, where family members say they were going to attend the graduation of another one of Greg Byrd’s sons at University of Mississippi.

Channel 2 Action News confirmed the flight had originated in Asheville, North Carolina, where pilot Greg Byrd lived. He flew to the Atlanta area to pick up Christopher and Jackie.

Kulzer was a graduate of St. Pius X Catholic High School in Atlanta.

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the crash but a final report has yet to be released.

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

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA208 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 08, 2015 in Chamblee, GA
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R-300, registration: N5802V
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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

On May 8, 2015, about 1010 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-300, N5802V, collided with a highway barrier during a forced landing attempt near Chamblee, Georgia. The commercial pilot three passengers were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by TLT and GGBB LLC. as a personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from Peachtree DeKalb Airport (PDK), Chamblee, Georgia, about 1008 eastern daylight time and was destined for University-Oxford Airport (UOX), Oxford, Mississippi.

A review of the air traffic control (ATC) transcript revealed that the pilot contacted clearance delivery for an IFR clearance. ATC provided the clearance, which included radar vectors, and "climb and maintain 3,000; expect 8,000 in 10 minutes." The pilot read back the clearance correctly, and confirmed that he had the most recent automatic terminal information service (ATIS), which was information "Whiskey." The pilot contacted ground control, and indicated that he was ready to taxi. Ground control instructed the pilot to taxi for runway 3R, via bravo, hold short 3L, and the pilot read back the instructions correctly. The pilot then contacted the tower controller informing them that he was holding short 3L and ready. The tower controller instructed the pilot to "fly heading 360 and cleared for takeoff." The pilot then questioned the controller regarding which runway to take off from and the controller cleared the pilot for takeoff from runway 3L. Approximately two minutes after departure the tower controller called the pilot to verify heading. The pilot responded "zero-two-victor, I'm having some problem climbing here." Followed by "zero-two-victor; were going down here at the intersection." This was the last transmission made by the pilot.

A witness stated that he was about 2,300 feet off the departure end of the runway. He stopped to look at the airplane because it was moving extremely slow and only 75-100 feet above ground level when it went over his head. He went on to say that the engine sounded normal and despite the slow speed the airplane was not "wobbling" left to right. He continued to watch the airplane as it flew out of his view.

First responders to the accident site located the airplane in the eastbound lane of interstate 285, approximately 2 miles north of PDK. There were ground scars across four traffic lanes that ended at a 5 foot concrete highway divider where the airplane came to rest. The airplane was found fragmented and a post-crash fire ensued. The wreckage path was on a heading of 021 degrees magnetic, at coordinates 33°54'44.12"N, 84°17'8.46"W.


Family photo of Christopher Byrd and Jackie Kulzer just moments before they took off in plane that crashed. 















McDonnell Douglas A4N Skyhawk, Discovery Air Defence Services Inc., C-FGZT: Accident occurred September 17, 2015 at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (KIWA), Arizona

FAA  Flight Standards District Office: FAA Scottsdale FSDO-07

http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca


NTSB Identification: WPR15LA264
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 17, 2015 in Phoenix, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/01/2016
Aircraft: DOUGLAS A4N, registration: CFGZT
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

The commercial pilot was conducting a test flight. The pilot reported that, toward the end of the flight, he was scheduled to test the emergency generator. When the generator was deployed, the fuel gauge indicated below “0” remaining fuel, and all of the warning/advisory lights illuminated for a few seconds. The pilot subsequently chose to return to the airport to land. 

The pilot reported that, while on the downwind leg, as he was configuring the airplane for a planned drag-chute landing, he became distracted by something in the cockpit that disrupted his checklist flow, but he could not explain what distracted him. As he turned the airplane onto the base leg, he checked the flap and spoiler positions and the landing gear wheel indicators. He noted that he saw three “jittering wheels” but that the gear indicators were difficult to see due to the sun angle and shadows. The pilot then landed the airplane and deployed the drag chute. The airplane slowed very rapidly and came to a rest on the drop tank, which ruptured, and a fire ensued. The pilot egressed from the airplane and noticed that the landing gear were not down. 

A postaccident examination of the landing gear system revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that the pilot’s distraction during the downwind leg and his difficulty seeing the landing gear indicators led to his failure to extend the landing gear before landing.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to extend the landing gear before landing. Contributing to the accident were the pilot’s distraction during the downwind leg and his difficulty seeing the landing gear indicators due to the sun angle and shadows. 

On September 17, 2015 about 1241 mountain standard time, a Douglas A-4N, Canadian registration C-FGZT, landed gear up at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA), Phoenix, Arizona. The commercial pilot (sole occupant) sustained minor injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing. The airplane was registered to Discovery Air Defence Services, Montreal, Canada and operated by Top Aces, Mesa, Arizona under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a test flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed at the time of the accident. The flight departed IWA at 1015. 

The pilot reported that towards the end of a 2.6 hour test flight, he conducted three touch and go landings. During the third touch and go he noted that the landing gear handle was "stiff" when lowering the landing gear. The airplane landed uneventfully and took off again. As part of the test plan, the pilot requested to depart the traffic pattern to test an emergency generator. When the generator was deployed everything appeared normal with the exception of the fuel gauge indicating below "0" remaining fuel. Suddenly all of the warning/advisory lights illuminated for 2-3 seconds before extinguishing. Concerned about the fuel gauge indication the pilot proceeded back to the airport to land. The pilot put the electrical system back on the main generator and the fuel gauge returned to an indication he expected. 

As the pilot approached the airport he prepared for a planned drag chute landing. He entered the downwind; as he started to configure the airplane for landing he remembered becoming distracted by something in the cockpit, but couldn't explain what. As the airplane turned base, he noted that the flaps were in the full down position and the spoilers were armed. He recalls glancing at the landing gear wheel indicators and saw three "jittering wheels," but they were difficult to view due to the sun angle, shadows, and gauge placement. The airplane landed uneventfully and the drag chute was deployed; the airplane slowed very rapidly and came to a rest as it started on fire. The pilot egressed from the airplane safely and noticed that the landing gear was not down. 

During a postaccident examination of the landing gear system by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector the airplane was lifted up and the landing gear was extended. The airplane was placed back onto the ground and wheeled into the hangar where it was put onto jacks. The inspector visually inspected the landing gear system and was unable to find any physical anomalies. The landing gear system was cycled various times with no anomalies noted.

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA264
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 17, 2015 in Phoenix, AZ
Aircraft: DOUGLAS A4N, registration: CFGZT
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 September 17, 2015 about 1241 mountain standard time, a Douglas A-4N, Canadian registration C-FGZT, landed gear up at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA), Phoenix, Arizona. The commercial pilot (sole occupant) was uninjured and the airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing. The airplane was registered to Discovery Air Defence Services, Montreal, Canada and operated by Top Aces, Mesa, Arizona under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a test flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed at the time of the accident. The flight departed IWA at 1015. 

The pilot reported that the purpose of the flight was to functionally test the airplanes systems. After conducting various maneuvers and configurations, he tested the emergency generator. During the test, he observed that some of the systems were not operating as expected and he proceeded back to the airport to land. He lowered the flaps, checked the landing gear, and prepared to use the drag parachute. The pilot reported that the airplane touched down onto the runway smoothly and the parachute was deployed; the airplane slowed rapidly. The airplane came to rest and then caught fire. 

The airplane has been recovered to a secure location for further examination.




An attack jet was damaged during landing at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport when its front landing gear failed Thursday afternoon, fire officials said.

The 63-year-old pilot was able to escape without harm after the nose of the McDonnell Douglas A4N Skyhawk struck the runway, and the plane skidded for a short distance before coming to a stop at about 12:45 p.m., according to Mesa Fire and Medical Department.

The plane is based at the airport and was returning from a training flight at the time of the incident.

An investigation will be launched by the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration.

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



Incident occurred September 17, 2015 at Knapp State Airport (KMPV), Barre/Montpelier, Vermont

Date: 17-SEP-15
Time: 00:00:00Z
Regis#: UNREGISTERED
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: Minor
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Portland FSDO-65
City: MONTPELIER
State: Vermont

ULTRALIGHT, REGISTRATION UNKNOWN, CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, MONTPELIER, VT



BERLIN, Vt. -  A pilot was taken to the hospital following a plane crash Thursday afternoon in Berlin.

Officials say around 4:30 p.m., a single-engine plane leaving the Knapp State Airport lost control. When the pilot tried to return to the airport, he missed the runway and experienced a hard landing in a nearby field. The plane was destroyed on impact.

The pilot was the only person in the plane. He suffered cuts to his hand and head.

The airport was shut down for about an hour.

Source:  http://www.wcax.com


Man hit with $21,000 air ambulance bill

GRAY COURT, S.C. —Few people expect to be airlifted to the hospital. But when Roy Brown's wife, Linda Brown, had a heart attack in April, doctors said it was her best chance for survival.

"If it hadn't been for the helicopter, she wouldn't have made it to the hospital," Brown told WYFF News 4 Investigates' Tim Waller.

In April, Brown's wife broke out in a cold sweat and began to experience nausea. Brown believed she was having a heart attack, so he drove her to Hillcrest Hospital in Simpsonville.

"They said, 'She's having a major heart attack.' They gave her nitroglycerin tablets and IVs and all that," he said.

Brown said doctors insisted that his wife be flown to the emergency room at Greenville Memorial for lifesaving treatment.

Given the circumstances, Brown never thought to ask if the flight would be covered by his insurance company.  

"All I was thinking was whether she was going to survive or not," Brown said.

Survive she did, but that 12-mile flight cost $25,000. Her insurance paid $3,600, but the Browns received a bill from Med-Trans for the remaining $21,400.

"I was very shocked," Brown said. "I can't believe what they charged for that 10 to 15-minute flight. It was outrageous."

Linda Brown's insurance company only paid a fraction of the bill because Med-Trans, which owns and operates air ambulance services at Greenville Health System, AnMed Health Medical Center and Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, doesn't have provider agreements with insurance companies in South Carolina. Patients who are airlifted are always billed at the out-of-network rate.

"The helicopter that picked her up had GHS on the side of it, so I figured it was part of the hospital system, but it's not. That's like false advertising," Roy Brown said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina said it's tried many times to bring Med-Trans into its network. But officials said the for-profit air ambulance company has rejected each and every offer.

"We made what we believed was a fair offer for reimbursement. It was many times over Medicare, which is what Med-Trans accepts, and they elected to remain out of network, which we believe is harmful to the consumer," spokesperson Patti Embry-Tautenhan said.

Harmful, because the average Med-Trans flight bill was $35,000 in 2014, according to Medicare data compiled by Research 360. And the cost of those flights gets higher every year -- a 52 percent  rise since 2012.

And it's not just Med-Trans that has left some patients in a financial bind. Air Methods Corporation, whose LifeNet air ambulance service serves hospitals in the Columbia area, is being sued by a patient who was billed for nearly $31,000. The lawsuit claims Air Methods "conceal(s) their pricing structure by failing to enter into preferred provider contracts with managed care companies, and require(s) patients to pay the bill in full and seek reimbursement from their insurance companies."

"When you're laying on the side of the road and you get picked up, 'Thank you for coming to get me, but only charge me a fair price for doing it.' That's what this lawsuit is about," Columbia attorney Pete Strom said.

(Read the entire lawsuit against Air Methods Corporation here.)

Roy Brown claims the most expensive part of his wife's Med-Trans bill had little to do with the care she received.

"It cost $21,175 just for the helicopter to show up," he said.

WYFF News 4 Investigates contacted Med-Trans corporate in Lewisville, Texas, and asked why the company has no provider agreements with insurance companies in South Carolina.

"Our company is always willing to visit with any insurance company regarding rates," Med-Trans spokesman Reid Vogel said. "However, we find that insurance companies usually want to talk about Medicare rates that are unilaterally set by the federal government based on its own budget concerns, instead of being based on a reasonable, market-driven reimbursement level."

Vogel said 17 percent of Med-Trans' patients do not have insurance and have no way to pay. He said 22 percent of their patients have Medicaid, which pays less than $2,500 per flight, which is less than the 50 percent of what it costs to transport a patient.

"We basically lose large amounts of money on 40 percent of the South Carolina patients whose lives we save," Vogel said.

Two bills have been introduced -- one in the South Carolina Legislature, the other in the U.S. Senate -- to help cover the high cost of air ambulance flights.

In the meantime, families like the Browns struggle to pay for a service that saves lives.

"You've got a company in West Plains, Missouri, that I ain't never heard of and I owe them $21,000. To me, it ain't right," Roy Brown said.

Story and comments:  http://www.wyff4.com


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Scandal In The Sky: Federal Air Marshals Dialing For Prostitutes



CHICAGO (WLS) -- The ABC7 I-Team has exclusive details about a scandal in the skies - federal air marshals from Chicago are accused of dialing for prostitutes while on-duty.

This scandal involves three federal air marshals working out of Chicago, suspended after authorities say the men were contacting prostitutes while on the job and using phones provided by taxpayers to film sexual encounters.

On Thursday in Washington, a House committee hearing will highlight the alleged misconduct in Chicago and growing concerns about the air marshal agency as a whole.

Air marshals undergo vigorous training to guard against jetliner terrorism and prevent hijackings on especially sensitive flight routes.

At the Chicago Air Marshal Headquarters near O'Hare, the three marshals were put on unpaid leave this summer, according to sources familiar with the investigation. One has resigned.

The I-Team has been told that trio of federal officers posed as pornographers looking for women to star in their movies, communicated with them via their government-issued cell phones. Several sources say the air marshals recorded their sex encounters on their federal phones.

The investigation began when supervisors looked into a worker's comp claim filed by one of the air marshals and found incriminating evidence on his cell phone.

The Air Marshal Service declined to comment - the TSA that oversees air marshals issued a statement that said all employees are "held accountable to a rigorous code of conduct."

"They have got to get a grip on this because these people are entrusted with weapons on planes to protect the public, and heaven forbid something happen," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

The I-Team emailed and left messages for the three Chicago air marshals involved in the scandal and they have not responded.

Story, comments and video:  http://abc7chicago.com

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, N43241, Orange Coast College: Incident occurred September 16, 2015 near John Wayne-Orange County Airport (KSNA), Santa Ana, California




Date: 17-SEP-15 
Time: 01:20:00Z
Regis#: N43241
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: None
Activity: Instruction
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Long Beach FSDO-05
City: COSTA MESA
State: California

AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED ON A ROAD, NEAR SANTA ANA AIRPORT, COSTA MESA, CA

http://registry.faa.gov/N43241



A small plane with an instructor and student pilot made an emergency landing on an Irvine street Wednesday evening, authorities said.

The Piper Cherokee aircraft landed at 6:18 p.m. near John Wayne Airport at Red Hill and McGaw avenues during rush-hour traffic, coming to a stop at MacArthur Boulevard, Irvine Police spokeswoman Farrah Emami said.

The plane is based at the airport, but is owned by Orange Coast College, said airport spokeswoman Jenny Wedge

No injuries or damage to the plane was reported, and the Federal Aviation Administration will conduct an investigation, Wedge said.

Because the plane’s wings do not fold up, the plane will be parked outside the airport until Thursday morning, when it can be brought inside through a wider gate, Wedge said.

The cause for the emergency landing had not been determined Wednesday night.

Two southbound lanes on Red Hill Avenue were closed between Reynolds Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard until the plane was towed away.

On Sept. 8, 2014, a 1975 Beechcraft Bonanza A36 with engine trouble force the two people on board to land in the Olinda Landfill in Brea.

A Cessna made an emergency landing in the Great Park in November after experiencing engine trouble. More recently, a two-seat airplane landed in the Great Park in January after having the same problems.

No one was injured in all three incidents.

http://www.ocregister.com








Grumman American AA-5 Traveler, N960RS: Incident occurred September 14, 2015 near Jasper County Airport (KRZL), Rensselaer, Indiana

Airplane runs out of fuel and is landed in bean field near Jasper County Airport

On Monday, September 14, 2015 at approximately 10:36 A.M. Jasper County Sheriff’s Office received notification that a small private aircraft had radioed Jasper County Airport indicating that the aircraft was unable to make the runway and would be landing in a field.

Immediately units from Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, Rensselaer Fire, Prompts Medics, and Airport personnel responded to an area north of the runway to search for the aircraft. During this time radio communications had been lost with the pilot of the aircraft.

At approximately 10:43 A.M. ground search units located the intact aircraft in a bean field on the northwest corner of County Road 300 South and County Road 700 West within two miles of the airport. 

Contact was made with the lone occupant of the aircraft who advised he had suffered no injury and was able to land the aircraft without any detectable damage.

Investigation by Deputy Russ Shouse revealed that the Grumman single engine four seat aircraft was being flown to Jasper County Airport for an annual inspection when the aircraft ran out of fuel. 

The pilot was able to make an emergency landing in the bean field with little or no crop damage observed. 

Airport personnel contacted the FAA and the NTSB to notify respective agencies of the emergency landing. 

The pilot was identified as Steve Zumbusch of Chanhassen, Minnesota. Mr. Zumbusch suffered no injury and remained with airport personnel while the investigation was completed.

At 3:00 P.M. same date Jasper County Airport maintenance personnel recovered the Grumman aircraft and successfully moved the aircraft to the Jasper County Airport. 

No other information was available at the time of this report.

Press Release from County Sheriff’s Office.

Source:  http://www.jaspercountyinnews.com


Date: 14-SEP-15
Time: 16:15:00Z
Regis#: N960RS
Aircraft Make: GRUMMAN
Aircraft Model: AA5
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: None
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA South Bend FSDO-17
City: RENSSELAER
State: Indiana

AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED IN A FIELD, NEAR RENSSELAER, IN

http://registry.faa.gov/N960RS

Cessna 210A Centurion, N9461X: Incident occurred September 16, 2015 in Perry County, Illinois

PERRY COUNTY, IL (KFVS) -  A Tennessee man was uninjured after the plane he was piloting landed in a farm field in Perry County, Illinois.

According to Illinois State Police, on Wednesday, September 16 at 4:13 p.m., they received a report from the Randolph County Sheriff's Department dispatch of a possible airplane down.

The report said the last known location was 8.5 miles east of Sparta and the plane was having engine trouble.

Police say they found the Cessna 210 where it had safely landed in a field just off of Lost Prairie Road near Lilac Road, about 1.5 miles north of Illinois Route 154 in Perry County.

The pilot and sole occupant, 33-year-old Ronald W. Coyne of Clarksville, Tenn., was not injured.

According to police, the plane was traveling from Springfield, Tenn. to St. Louis, Mo.

Story:  http://www.kfvs12.com

http://registry.faa.gov/N9461X

Republic’s Feud With Pilots Union Highlights Industry Strains • Regional airlines grapple with pilot shortage, major carriers’ cuts in flights to smaller airports

The Wall Street Journal
By SUSAN CAREY
Sept. 16, 2015 7:20 p.m. ET


The worsening feud between Republic Airways Holdings Inc. and its pilots union highlights strains across the U.S. regional-airline industry, which is contending with a sudden pilot shortage just as business is being crimped by major carriers reducing commuter flights to some smaller airports.

Regional carriers, while far less well known than big mainline airlines, are enormously important to U.S. fliers. They carried 157 million passengers in 2013, the latest statistic available from their trade association, and were the sole source of flights at 431 U.S. airports.

Indianapolis-based Republic, the nation’s second-largest regional carrier by passengers, employs 242 planes to operate more than 1,200 flights a day on behalf of American Airlines Group Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. Republic has warned its 2,100 pilots that it could file for bankruptcy-court reorganization unless they accept a new contract that would significantly raise pilot pay—but not by as much as the union wants.

“Getting to a consensual agreement with the pilots is the best outcome,” Republic Chief Executive Bryan Bedford said in an interview. “But if we just can’t get there, at some point we have to surrender to that reality and go down a different path.”

The union, while sympathetic to the broader problems facing Republic, also argues that the airline reneged on some provisional agreements and flouted protocol by bringing its latest offer directly to pilots. Thus, the union declined to put it out to a membership vote.

The two sides Wednesday were called to meet with the National Mediation Board, the federal agency that oversees labor talks in the airline industry and is mediating the dispute.

The regional industry has encountered serious challenges in the past several years, as six major carriers combined into three and sought better deals from their regional partners. Regional carriers also underwent a spate of acquisitions, as well as some bankruptcies and one shutdown.

Then in 2013 came new federal rules requiring pilots to have many more hours in their logbooks before they can be hired as commercial aviators. That change, which sharply increased the time and expense for budding pilots to land jobs, has crimped the already-tight supply of would-be pilots, who tend to enter the industry through jobs at regional carriers.

In early 2014, new regulations governing pilots’ flight, duty and rest rules came into force, which forced airlines to further boost staffing.

“The old regional model isn’t working anymore,” said Marc Anderson, lawyer for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters local that represents Republic’s aviators. “Carriers are having extreme difficulty filling their [new-hire pilot training] classes. They can’t cover their schedules.”

The pilots understand the airline is losing “a drastic number” to attrition, he said. “We don’t want to put Republic in the ground.”

At the same time, the major airlines are trying to minimize the amount of regional flying they contract for and want fewer flights with larger regional jets, he said. Some, like Delta, have proposed bringing some of that activity in-house.

In response, Republic, like its rivals, is racing to revamp its fleet, paring the number of 50-seat aircraft in its fleet and upgrading to 70- and 76-seaters, which are more pleasing to fliers, more cost-efficient to operate, and essentially make more pilots available in this time of shortage.

Mr. Bedford, Republic’s CEO since 1999, became dissatisfied with the fortunes of the regional business. So in 2009, he diversified by acquiring and combining two mainline carriers, Midwest Airlines of Milwaukee and Frontier Airlines of Denver, making a risky bet that discount airlines would do well as the industry consolidated.

But by late 2011, the move looked like a flop because airlines were still suffering from the economic downturn and oil prices spiked. “That put a significant headwind in the plan,” said Mr. Bedford. Republic in 2013 sold Frontier to a private-equity firm for $145 million—putting Mr. Bedford firmly back in the regional game, just in time for more turmoil.

Republic now can’t meet its schedule for major customers because it is losing so many pilots to other airlines and its recruitment pipeline has dried up because of the low pay in its existing pilot contract, which it hasn’t been updated in eight years.

So far, American, United, and Delta have allowed Republic to reduce its schedules through the fourth quarter, but people familiar with the matter said it’s not clear how much longer they will continue to go along. In most contracts, the majors can impose financial penalties for failure to perform and even cancel a regional agreement.

United said it continues to work with Republic and its other commuter partners to minimize any impact on the airline and its customers, declining further comment. Delta said it is continually in touch with Republic and all of its regional partners. American called Republic a “valued, longtime” partner and said it will continue to work with the company should additional schedule adjustments be needed.

Mr. Bedford said Republic estimates that by year end, it will be 200 fully qualified pilots short of its needs.

Spooked by the uncertainty, investors have dumped Republic stock. From nearly $15 each in February, its shares plunged to a closing low of $2.12 in late August before recovering somewhat. They rose 7.1% Wednesday to $3.45 each.

Mr. Bedford said the company’s latest plight “is not being driven by a financial squeeze or lack of liquidity.” But the pilot recruitment and retention problem cannot continue indefinitely without risking the long-term health of the airline, he said.

He said Republic’s next-to-last offer in June would have raised its incremental pilot costs by about $130 million over three years. He claimed the Teamsters countered with a plan that would boost incremental pilot costs by $1.2 billion over three years.

Mr. Anderson, the Teamster lawyer, said the union’s latest counter, which it hopes the company will entertain, would raise pilot costs by an incremental $150 million over three years.

On Wednesday, the Teamsters met with National Mediation Board mediators for several hours to explain their counterproposal, Mr. Anderson, their local’s lawyer said.

Republic was expected to meet separately with the mediators later Monday. Republic officials weren’t immediately available to comment. A mediation board spokeswoman said the agency doesn’t comment on pending cases.

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

Port of Moses Lake asks Federal Aviation Administration to continue radar station, keep jobs

MOSES LAKE – The Grant County commissioners are asking the Federal Aviation Administration to continue operating the radar station at the Grant County International Airport.

The commissioners sent a formal letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to allow the airport’s Terminal Radar Approach Control, or TRACON, to remain open in the face of cuts to infrastructure around the country.

The letter outlines the importance of the system and its operators to the Port of Moses Lake, Air Force, and US Forest Service. All have air tanker fleets operating at the airport.

“The local TRACON staff are familiar with the Forest Service’s largest firefighting aircraft in our region. It is obvious to the generalist, as well as the specialist, that they operate faster, safer and more efficiently with local controllers,” The commissioners said in their letter.

Under Section 804 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which Congress passed in 2012, the removal of the older ground-based TRACON system is for the new NextGEN satellite-based radar system.

NextGEN is being implemented nationwide in stages through 2025 and has the potential to shorten routes, increase efficiency in both time and fuel, reduce traffic delays and permit controllers to monitor and manage aircraft with greater safety margins, according to the FAA.

If the TRACON system is shut down, the new system would be operated out of either Seattle or Spokane as a means of consolidating manpower and lowering overall costs, said Port of Moses Lake Business Director Richard Hanover.

Since the Grant County International Airport is not offering airline service, and is more of a hub for flight testing, military training, education and industrial use, preserving the current system keeps the jobs. It would aid the airport in becoming an aerospace hub, Port of Moses Lake Executive Director Jeffrey Bishop said.

“The beauty of what we have now is we employ air-traffic controllers and radar operators who are cross-trained in both areas, so we have well-qualified crews manning the tower providing an extra layer of safety for both pilots and ground crews. With Mitsubishi using Grant County as a test site for their new passenger jet, changing the radar configuration puts it and other potential test opportunities in serious jeopardy,” Bishop said.

Big Bend Community College President, Dr. Terry Leas sent a letter to Administrator Huerta on behalf of the port, saying the current system is vital to the students currently enrolled for aviation training to become pilots.

“The unique nature of the training at the airport has created what is arguably the Commercial Pilot Program’s greatest asset: new pilots garner experience in the airspace while conducting advanced operations, which are not feasible at other facilities,” Leas wrote.

The FAA should reach a final decision before the end of the year.

Source:  http://www.ifiberone.com

Home project takes Hastings, Minnesota, family to the sky

Ed and Colleen Kranz and their son, EJ, stand next to their new plane. Soon, they’ll be able to use it for long-distance trips.



A Hastings couple just completed a three and a half year long project, and soon they’ll be using their handiwork to fly all across the country. On Aug. 29, Ed and Colleen Kranz watched as a test pilot flew their homemade airplane for the very first time.

It started when Ed got his pilot’s license, he said. License in hand, he joined a flying club, where he could use other people’s planes to get air time. But the planes he was flying were old – most from the 1970s or 1980s. He had to pay to use them, and he never knew what might go wrong during a flight.

“And you can’t do any maintenance yourself on a club airplane,” Colleen said.

“I knew that I wanted to get my own airplane,” Ed said.

But he couldn’t afford to buy the kind of plane he wanted, with the features he wanted. So he decided to build one.

Ed said he’s always been handy, but he had never attempted to build a plane before. Fortunately, there are plenty of airplane kits to choose from that provide the bulk of the materials needed for construction. He chose the RV 10, a design by Van’s Aircraft in Oregon. That particular design had all the features he was after – big enough to fit his family and their luggage, fast and efficient, making cross country trips more manageable.

He also chose that particular plane for the builders community associated with it. His is the 777th RV 10 to fly, he said, so there are plenty of other people to offer support and help throughout the process. Now, since they recorded time lapse videos of the build work, Ed and Colleen have become a valuable resource themselves to other builders.

The construction project started in the Kranz garage on Feb. 14, 2012, Valentine’s Day.

“I thought it was kind of fun and exciting,” Colleen said. “… I knew that he would love it.”

Although it was a project that grew out of Ed’s love for planes, it was something that the couple ended up working on together. And it taught them quite a bit as well, Colleen said.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “But it’s been such a journey.”

They’ve learned to be more efficient with how they spend their time and money, to focus on the things they really want to do and let other distractions (like television) fade away.

When they set out to build the plane, they thought it would take about two and a half years. In all, it took exactly three and a half years to finish. Ed made some custom changes along the way, such as the interior finish, custom fiberglass, interior lighting system (the lights come on when the doors open, just like a car), electric cowl flaps, custom overhead switch panel for all aircraft lighting controls, dual Lightspeed electronic ignition, custom backlit switch labels and a throttle quadrant mounted in the center console. The plane also has a new IO540 Hartzell two-blade prop and it’s one of the first planes to have a full triple screen Garmin G3X touch avionics system.

Also in that time, the couple had their first child, EJ, in January of 2014. They also lost three months of work when Ed came down with pneumonia. But on Aug. 29 – which also happens to be the Kranz’s anniversary – the plane took off. The first flight was handled by test pilot Doug Weiler. Ed flew it for the first time the following Monday.

They weren’t too nervous about the first flight. During the build process, they took advantage of a technical counselor provided through the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), so they were getting expert help over the course of the whole project. And before it flew, three technical experts inspected the entire plane. After they were done, Ed and Colleen knew there wouldn’t be any catastrophic failures.

Still, it took some time for Ed to really realize what he’d accomplished.

“I don’t think it sank in until a couple hours later,” he said.

Now, the plane has relocated from the couple’s garage to the Red Wing Regional Airport. The only thing that’s not done is the paint job, which Ed said will probably be done next spring.

For now, Ed can only fly the plane solo, at least until it’s had 40 hours of flight time, just to make sure everything is in good working order. After that, he’ll be able to fly with his whole family.

Benefits of owning a plane

Now that they’ve got their wings, Ed and Colleen are looking forward to the opportunities it will provide their family. With a plane that can reach 200 miles per hour, they’ll be able to access more distant locations in a fraction of the time it would take in a car.

“You can do just amazing trips,” Ed said. “On a Friday morning, Colleen and I could say … hey, let’s go camping in Yellowstone.”

That trip would take just five hours, and they could easily be back the following Monday.

Colleen said she’s excited to raise a family with a plane. By increasing their children’s travel, they can also increase their exposure to history and educational opportunities.

And an added perk is that the plane is pretty fuel efficient as well. It gets about 18 miles per gallon, and can fly about 800 to 1,000 miles before needing to refuel.

Added to all of that is the airplane community itself. The family has already made friends around the nation just through the build process. And everyone at the airports has always been friendly as well.

“You go to pretty much any airport and people are so nice,” Colleen said.

The entire build process has been documented on the family’s blog. More photos and video can be found at www.EdandColleen.com.

Story, video  and photo gallery:  http://www.hastingsstargazette.com

Ed Kranz is pictured flying the plane he spent more than three years building, just days after its initial test flight.