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.

11-month-old girl hit in head by crashing drone; Federal Aviation Administration investigating

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Wednesday that it will investigate a drone accident that injured an 11-month-old girl in the head when it crashed last weekend on a Pasadena street.

Authorities said the baby was being pushed in a stroller by her mother when she was hit with debris from a small, privately-owned drone that came down on Marengo Avenue near Union Street about 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

The baby suffered a large contusion on her forehead and a small cut to the side of her head, according to police. She was treated at a hospital and released.

Her mother also was hit by parts of the aircraft, but was not injured.

Police said they found the owner of the drone at the accident site. He reportedly told officers that he lost control of the unmanned aircraft while attending an event at Pasadena City Hall. After the accident, he said, he waited for authorities to arrive.

Police said they forwarded their report to the FAA’s Flight Standards Office at Van Nuys Airport to see if the owner of the drone had violated federal regulations. The name of the operator was not available Wednesday.

FAA officials said they would look into the incident. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, anyone who carelessly or recklessly flies a drone can face fines between $1,000 and $25,000.

The agency has become concerned about a growing number of reports complaining about unsafe flights of unmanned aircraft. As a result, it has stepped up its education of operators and enforcement efforts related to hazardous drone operations.

FAA officials say they have initiated more than 20 enforcement cases. Five have resulted in settlments in which operators paid fines while penalties have been proposed in five other cases.

Government authorization is not required to operate a drone for hobby purposes. However, there are laws and guidelines prohibiting drone flights that endanger manned aircraft and people on the ground. For example, drones should be flown below 400 feet and not over unprotected people or vehicles.

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

Van's RV10, N122WK: Fatal accident occurred September 16, 2015 near Bacon County Airport (KAMG), Alma, Georgia

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

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

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

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

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

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Atlanta FSDO-11

http://registry.faa.gov/N122WK 

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA359
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 16, 2015 in Alma, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2017
Aircraft: BOATRIGHT WAYLON RV10, registration: N122WK
Injuries: 5 Fatal.

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

The noncertificated pilot/owner departed in his four-seat, amateur-built airplane in dark night conditions with four passengers on board. Radar data and a witness account indicated that the airplane was performing climbs, descents, and “S” turns at low altitude before the accident; the radar data indicated that climb and descent rates reached over 2,500 ft per minute. The witness described the airplane flying “just above the trees” and up and down in an “M” pattern with smooth increases and decreases in engine power until it disappeared from view, and the engine sounds ceased. Examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or anomalies, and the accident site was consistent with impact at full engine power and a high rate of descent. The pilot had a history of disregard for established rules and regulations. He operated the accident airplane for years without a pilot certificate. He was arrested on three separate occasions, two of those within the 4 months before the accident, for operating vehicles under the influence of alcohol. His contempt for rules and regulations, as illustrated in his operation of surface vehicles and the accident airplane, is consistent with an attitude of “anti-authority,” which the Federal Aviation Administration considers hazardous to safe operation of aircraft. On the night of the accident, the pilot elected to conduct the flight with more passengers than could be restrained in seats, which resulted in the airplane likely being loaded near its maximum allowable gross weight and beyond its aft center of gravity limit. The aggressive maneuvering described by the witness and as shown by radar data would have been challenging given the reduced visual references associated with dark night conditions, the loading of the airplane, and the unrestrained passenger, and ultimately resulted in the pilot’s loss of control at low altitude.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The noncertificated pilot's decision to perform aerobatic maneuvers in his overweight, improperly-loaded airplane in dark night conditions at low altitude, which resulted in a loss of airplane control and collision with terrain. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's established "anti-authority" attitude, as demonstrated by his behavior on the night of the accident and in the years prior.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 16, 2015, about 0342 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built RV-10, N122WK, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain following an uncontrolled descent in Alma, Georgia. The pilot and 4 passengers were fatally injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airplane departed Bacon County Airport (AMG), Alma, Georgia, exact time unknown.

According to local law enforcement, a search for the airplane was initiated at 0342 after a 911 call, and the airplane was located approximately 6 miles east of the departure airport about 1630 that afternoon.

In an interview, a witness stated she got out of bed and went to the kitchen of her home for a glass of water. She noted the time when she entered the kitchen at 0322. Her attention was drawn to a noise she heard outside, so she looked out the window.

According to the witness, "I looked out over the blueberry field and saw a bright, clear, bluish-white light, like an LED light, going up and down and heard the sounds of a small plane. I thought it was a crop duster because the sound of the engine was increasing and decreasing, and it was going up and down and flying a pattern in the shape of an "M."

The witness repeated that the airplane flew in an "M" pattern and illustrated it with her hands. She said the airplane flew "not much above the tree line" and continued flying in this pattern, with smooth, continuous increasing and decreasing engine noise until it descended from view and the engine could no longer be heard.

Radar data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) depicted a visual flight rules (1200 code) radar target maneuvering in the vicinity of the accident site between 03:29:52 and 03:31:59, at altitudes ranging between 2,200 feet mean sea level (msl), and 2,900 feet msl. The targets depicted an s-shaped ground track when plotted. The last few targets showed a climb from 2,400 feet to 2,900 feet in 7 seconds, and then a descent down to 2500 feet 12 seconds later. This correlated to a climb rate greater than 3,000 feet per minute, and a descent rate of 2,500 feet per minute.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot was the owner and builder of the accident airplane. According to FAA records, the pilot was issued a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate on December 19, 2010. He was issued a third-class medical certificate on January 19, 2011, and he reported 25 total hours of flight experience on that date.

According to the FAA, a student pilot certificate was not issued concurrent with the medical certificate due to an administrative oversight, but a student pilot certificate issued on that date would have been expired at the time of the accident. The pilot did not hold a pilot certificate and no pilot logbook was recovered; therefore, the pilot's total flight experience could not be determined.

The pilot's medical and pharmaceutical records were not recovered or reviewed despite multiple requests to his family. A review of his criminal record revealed 3 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). The first arrest was in 1997, and was not reported on the pilot's FAA Student Pilot/Airman Medical Certificate application. The pilot's second DUI arrest was 12 weeks before the accident, and his most recent DUI arrest was 6 weeks before the accident.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four-seat, single-engine, low-wing, fixed-gear, 4-place airplane was manufactured by the pilot from a kit in 2010, and equipped with a Lycoming IO-540 series, 260-horsepower reciprocating engine. According to the airplane's maintenance records, the most recent condition inspection was completed on March 10, 2015, at 338 total aircraft hours.

The maximum allowable gross weight of the airplane was 2,700 pounds.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 0253, the weather reported at Bacon County Airport (AMG), Alma, Georgia; located 6 miles west of the accident site, included clear skies and wind from 060 degrees at 5 knots. The temperature was 73 degrees, the dew point was 19 degrees, and the altimeter setting was 30.21 inches of mercury.

At the time of the accident, the moon was below the horizon with 10 percent of its disk illuminated.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage was examined at the accident site, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage came to rest on flat, wooded terrain about 77 feet elevation. The wreckage path was approximately 200 feet long, and oriented about 240 degrees magnetic. The initial impact was in trees about 50 feet above the ground. The distance from the first tree strike to the impact crater was about 50 feet. The severed tree trunks and branches displayed angular cuts consistent with propeller contact. A section of tree trunk about 6 feet long and 13 inches in diameter displayed similar clean, angular cuts at each end and was found about 200 feet beyond the initial impact point. Another section of tree trunk was found nearby with sharp angular cuts, with a section of propeller blade embedded. The propeller blade section displayed an "S" bend and was fractured on both sides. The fracture surfaces displayed features consistent with overstress.

The engine, cockpit, cabin area, and tail section were completely fragmented, and largely contained in and around the initial impact crater. The main wing spar was fractured in multiple pieces and lay on either side of the impact crater. Control continuity could not be confirmed due to the extensive damage. Wing tips, sections of aileron, seat cushions, and other small pieces associated with the airplane were located in a wide arc surrounding the accident site. The instrument panel, its associated components, and the cockpit controls could not be identified. An altimeter was found in the impact crater and displayed no useable data.

The engine was severely damaged by impact. The engine case was fractured, and the accessories were all separated from their mounts. One propeller blade was found next to the engine, the propeller hub and remaining propeller blade were found buried in the impact crater beneath the engine. Both propeller blades displayed similar twisting, bending, leading-edge gouging, and chordwise scratching.

The engine crankshaft could not be rotated due to impact damage. Borescope examination of each cylinder and inside the crankcase revealed normal wear and lubrication signatures. The accessories (magnetos, pumps) could not be tested due to impact damage. Examination of the engine and disassembly of its accessories revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, could not perform the toxicological testing for the pilot with the samples obtained.

The Division of Forensic Sciences, Georgia Bureau of Investigation performed the autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The weight and balance condition was estimated based on the potential fuel state of the airplane (full vs half full fuel tanks), as its fuel state at the time of the accident was not known. Occupant weights were based on driver's license listed weights.

The seating of the occupants was also estimated, or assumed, as this was a four-place airplane and there were 5 occupants on board. Most likely, the lightest of the passengers sat across the laps of the two rear-seat passengers. Therefore, the weights were calculated at that moment arm.

With full fuel tanks, the airplane was at or above its maximum allowable gross weight, and loaded near its aft center-of-gravity (CG) limit. Interpolation of weight and balance charts revealed that the CG of the airplane moved aft as fuel was consumed.

With fuel tanks filled halfway, or less, the airplane was near its maximum allowable gross weight, and loaded beyond its aft CG limit.

Further, a fifth passenger would be unrestrained, and could either move about the cabin deliberately, or float uncontrollably in a negative-g condition, which could result in significant changes in the airplane's CG condition.

Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91.303, define aerobatic flight as, "An intentional maneuver involving an abrupt change in an aircraft's attitude, an abnormal attitude, or abnormal acceleration, not necessary for normal flight."

FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, stated:

"The effects that overloading has on stability also are not generally recognized. An airplane, which is observed to be quite stable and controllable when loaded normally, may be discovered to have very different flight characteristics when it is overloaded. Although the distribution of weight has the most direct effect on this, an increase in the airplane's gross weight may be expected to have an adverse effect on stability, regardless of location of the center of gravity."

"Generally, an airplane becomes less controllable, especially at slow flight speeds, as the center of gravity [CG] is moved further aft."

FAA-H-8083-2, Risk Management Handbook, identified five "hazardous attitudes" that may contribute to poor pilot judgment: anti-authority, impulsivity, invulnerability, macho, and resignation. The publication also stated,

"In an attempt to discover what makes a pilot accident prone, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversaw an extensive research study on the similarities and dissimilarities of pilots who were accident free and those who were not. The project surveyed over 4,000 pilots, half of whom had "clean" records while the other half had been involved in an accident. Five traits were discovered in pilots prone to having accidents:

1. Disdain toward rules
2. High correlation between accidents in their flying records and safety violations in their driving records
3. Frequently falling into the personality category of "thrill and adventure seeking"
4. Impulsive rather than methodical and disciplined in information gathering and in the speed and selection of actions taken
5. Disregard for or underutilization of outside sources of information, including copilots, flight attendants, flight service personnel, flight instructors, and air traffic controllers."

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA359
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 16, 2015 in Alma, GA
Aircraft: BOATRIGHT WAYLON RV10, registration: N122WK
Injuries: 5 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 September 16, 2015, about 0342 eastern daylight time (EDT), an experimental amateur-built Vans RV-10, N122WK, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain following an uncontrolled descent in Alma, Georgia. The pilot/owner/builder and 4 passengers were fatally injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight which was conducted under the provisions of Title14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the Sheriff's Department, a search for the airplane was initiated at 0342 after a 911 call, and was located approximately 6 miles east of the departure airport about 1630 that afternoon.

In an interview, a witness stated she got out of bed and went to the kitchen of her home for a glass of water. She noted the time when she entered the kitchen was 0322. Her attention was drawn to a noise she heard outside, so she looked out the window. According to the witness, "I looked out over the blueberry field and saw a bright, clear, bluish-white light, like an LED light, going up and down and heard the sounds of a small plane. I thought it was a crop duster because the sound of the engine was increasing and decreasing, and it was going up and down and flying a pattern in the shape of an 'M'."

The witness repeated that the airplane flew in an 'M' pattern and illustrated it with her hands. She said the airplane flew "not much above the treeline" and continued flying in this pattern, with smooth, continuous increasing and decreasing engine noise until it descended from view and the engine could no longer be heard.

Preliminary radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) depicted a visual flight rules (1200 code) radar target maneuvering in the vicinity of the accident site between 03:29:52 and 03:31:59, at altitudes ranging between 2,200 feet mean sea level (msl), and 2,900 feet msl. The targets depicted an 'S'-shaped ground track when plotted. The last few targets correlated to be the accident airplane showed a climb from 2,400 feet to 2,900 feet in 7 seconds, and then a descent down to 2500 feet 12 seconds later. This correlated to a climb rate greater than 3,000 feet per minute, and a descent rate of 2,500 feet per minute.

According to FAA records, the pilot was issued a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate on December 19, 2010 for the accident airplane. He was issued a third-class medical certificate on January 19, 2011, and he reported 25 total hours of flight experience on that date.

According to the FAA, a student pilot certificate was not issued concurrent with the medical due to an administrative oversight, but a student pilot certificate issued on that date would have been expired at the time of the accident. The pilot/owner/builder did not hold a pilot certificate and no pilot logbook was recovered; therefore, the pilot's total flight experience could not be determined.

The four-seat, single-engine, low-wing, fixed-gear, 4-place airplane was manufactured from a kit in 2010 by the pilot/owner, and equipped with a Lycoming 260-horsepower reciprocating engine. According to the airplane's maintenance records, the most recent condition inspection was completed on March 10, 2015, at 338 total aircraft hours.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage came to rest on flat wooded terrain about 77 feet elevation. The wreckage path was approximately 200 feet long, and oriented about 240 degrees magnetic. The initial impact was in trees about 50 feet above the ground. The distance from the first tree strike to the impact crater was about 50 feet. The severed tree trunks and branches displayed angular cuts. A section of tree trunk about 6 feet long and 13 inches in diameter displayed clean, angular cuts at each end and was found about 200 feet beyond the initial impact point. Another section of tree trunk was found nearby with sharp angular cuts, with a section of propeller blade embedded. The propeller blade section displayed an 'S' bend and was fractured on both sides. The fracture surfaces displayed features consistent with overstress.

The engine, cockpit, cabin area, and tail section were completely fragmented, and largely contained in and around the initial impact crater. The main wing spar was fractured in multiple pieces and lay on either side of the impact crater. Control continuity could not be confirmed due to the extensive impact-related damage. Wing tips, sections of aileron, seat cushions, and other small pieces associated with the airplane were located in a wide arc surrounding the accident site. The instrument panel, its associated components, and the cockpit controls could not be identified. An altimeter was found in the impact crater and displayed no useable data.

The engine was severely damaged by impact. The engine case was fractured, and the accessories were all separated from their mounts. One propeller blade was found next to the engine, the propeller hub and remaining propeller blade was found buried in the impact crater beneath the engine. Both propeller blades displayed similar twisting, bending, leading-edge gouging, and chordwise scratching.

The engine could not be rotated due to impact damage. Borescope examination of each cylinder and inside the crankcase revealed normal wear and lubrication signatures. The accessories (magnetos, pumps) could not be tested due to impact damage. Examination of the engine and disassembly of its accessories revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies.

Three cellular telephones and two electronic data cards were retained for examination at the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory.





ALMA, GA  - A vigil was held at the New Vision Church in Alma mourning the loss of five victims who died in a plane crash in Bacon County Wednesday. 

Several people gathered to remember the Waylon Boatright, Angela Wade, Drayden Sears, Logan Tomberlin, and Ethan Hampton.

All five died after the Van's RV10 plane they were flying in crashed into a remote wooded area.

Friday, the Bacon County Sheriff’s Office officially removed the wreckage of the plane. It’s now being taken to Atlanta where the investigation will continue.


SAVANNAH, Ga. — Five people aboard a single-engine plane died when the aircraft crashed in rural southeast Georgia, scattering debris across a wooded area a few miles from the local airport, authorities said Thursday.

"We don't have an intact plane," said Vic Peacock, the Bacon County coroner, who estimated pieces of the airplane were flung across an area of pine forest about 300 feet in diameter. "There's wreckage everywhere in this small area. It just disintegrated, basically."

Peacock said four men and a woman, most of them friends since high school, were killed in the crash a few miles outside Alma, a rural city about 100 miles southwest of Savannah.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane, a single-engine RV-10, crashed Wednesday about 4 miles east of the small Bacon County Airport. The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the cause of the crash.

Authorities believe the plane went down shortly after taking off from the local airport Wednesday at about 2:30 a.m., said Bacon County Sheriff Richard Foskey.

"They didn't file a flight plan and we don't know why they took off at this time of the morning," Foskey said Thursday.

Deputies were dispatched after a resident called the sheriff's office before dawn to report a sound like a low-flying plane and a loud boom, Foskey said, but they found nothing. The wreckage wasn't discovered until Wednesday afternoon after the wife of the plane's owner reported him and the others missing and an air search was launched.

The sheriff said he doesn't believe any survivors would have been found had authorities located the crash sooner.

"From what I saw out there, there's no way anybody could have walked out of that crash scene," Foskey said. "It was just too devastating."

The coroner identified the owner of the plane as 38-year-old Waylon Boatright of Alma. Boatright, a local farmer of blueberries and other crops, was among the dead and the sheriff said authorities believe he was flying the plane.

Also killed were Drayden Sears, 24; Logan Tomberlin, 23; Ethan Hampton, 23; and Angel Wade, 20. All were from Alma.

"They were just all friends," Peacock said. "A lot of them were classmates in school."




ALMA, GA (WTOC) - The victims of the plane crash in East Bacon County have been identified:
  • Waylon Dan Boatright, 38; pilot/owner
  • Angela Brooke Wade, 20
  • Drayden Ashley Sears, 24
  • Logan Tomberlin, 23
  • Ethan Tyree Hampton, 23
FAA and NTSB investigators have begun their investigation into the deadly plane crash near Alma.

The plane went down early Wednesday morning in a remote, wooded area near Highway 32 and Mesquite Road near the Rockingham community.

According to a preliminary investigation, the kit plane had four seats and had five passengers. Three of the passengers were classmates, graduating in the same high school class. A vigil has been planned. 

Boatright's wife reported the plane and her husband had been missing since Tuesday, and that is when law enforcement began their search and eventually discovered the downed plane.

Source:  http://www.wtoc.com












Four men and a woman were killed Wednesday when a single-engine plane crashed in woods 3 1/2 miles east of Alma, officials said.

Bacon County Sheriff Richard R. Foskey said the plane was found about 4:30 p.m. in a wooded area off Georgia 32 in the Rockingham community.

“It just disintegrated,” Foskey said of the plane, and recovery workers were removing the bodies as night fell.

Foskey said his office was not yet able to release any information on the identity of those aboard the aircraft and that once the bodies were out the crash scene would be secured for investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Foskey had said earlier that at least four were aboard the plane, but Bacon County Coroner Vic Peacock said about 9 p.m. that as the recovery was underway a fifth body was found.

"We're confident there were five,'' Peacock said. "It's not a pretty scene."

Peacock said the plane clipped a couple of pines and then appeared to crash nose first, but he added that would be up to aviation officials to determine.

Peacock said it would likely be Thursday before the identities were released because a number of next of kin had not been reached.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the wreckage was that of an RV-10 and that it had been reported found near Mesquite Road. The FAA said it was also investigating and that it would be up to the NTSB to determine a probable cause of the crash.

A website for Van’s Aircraft Inc. of Aurora, Ore., said its RV-10 is a single-engine kit plane with seating for four adults.

Foskey said a deputy sheriff had received a call that the plane had taken off from the Bacon County Airport west of Alma just after 3 a.m.

“It wasn’t long after that that they crashed,” he said.

Foskey said thus far no one has provided any information on where the pilot and the passengers were headed.

“It hasn’t even been speculated on as to where they were going or where they had been,” Foskey said.

A long day of intensive search ended when the wreckage was spotted by those aboard one of two Georgia Forestry Commission aircraft that had been looking for the wreckage along with a Georgia State Patrol helicopter, Foskey said.

Foskey said he flew over the crash scene in the state patrol helicopter just after the wreckage was spotted and that no one was found alive.

Story:  http://jacksonville.com

BACON COUNTY, GEORGIA -- A plane crash has been confirmed according to Sheriff Richard Foskey of Bacon County.

The plane went down east of highway 32 near Alma close to the Rockingham community.

There were five locals on board, four of the victims were male and one was a woman. Sheriff Foskey says they do not expect to find anyone else from the wreckage.

The flight was leaving from Bacon County Airport in Alma, Georgia and takeoff was early this morning around 2:30-3:30 a.m according to Bacon Co. Assistant Fire Chief Scotty Boatwright

National Transportation Safety Board is heading to the scene to investigate.

Story:  http://wsav.com
 

Federal Aviation Administration sets deadline for Martha's Vineyard Airport (KMVY) firefighting building design

The Martha's Vineyard Airport Commission met last Thursday without its manager present.


The Martha’s Vineyard Airport imbroglio continued last week with an announcement by airport commission chairman Myron Garfinkle on Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is further tightening funding requirements and deadlines.

Mr. Garfinkle said the FAA gave airport managers until December 31 to come up with the design for a proposed aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) building, which would also include offices and a bunk area. They may not, as they originally intended, use grant money to construct a snow removal equipment (SRE) storage building.

According to Mr. Garfinkle, on August 26 he and vice-chairman Bob Rosenbaum met with FAA representatives at their regional headquarters in Burlington for a private meeting at the FAA’s request.

“The first item on the meeting’s agenda was the airport’s performance, or lack thereof, between 2011 and the present regarding our AARF/SRE project,” Mr. Garfinkle said.

The FAA granted just under $900,000 to the airport in 2011 for the design of a combined AARF and SRE storage building. Mary Walsh, FAA regional administrator, “was very upset and expressed extreme displeasure” at the delay in usage of the money, “which could have been used by another airport in the meantime,” Mr. Garfinkle told the commissioners.

The airport has spent just under $300,000 of the grant. Airport assistant manager Deborah Potter said the design process is close to 60 percent completed.

Four conditions

Mr. Garfinkle said during the August 26 meeting that he and Mr. Rosenbaum were asked to step out of the room while the FAA representatives considered their options. After 10 minutes, the FAA said they would give the airport another chance, with four contingencies.

Mr. Garfinkle said the FAA only wants to move ahead with the construction of an AARF facility. A separate SRE facility would have to be built within two years of the ARFF design completion.

“There will be no SRE associated with the ARFF,” he said. “Nothing to do with it, that was very plain.”

Second, the airport must have the design plans completed by a December 31 deadline, or else forfeit funding for the project. Third, funding for the project, initially expected to be around $15 million, will be capped at $8 million. Of that total, $3 million will come from airport discretionary funds.

And finally, “the coordination of this project as far as the FAA was concerned will be Bob and myself,” Mr. Garfinkle said.

“To say I left the meeting shellshocked would be a very strong understatement,” he said. “Very, very strong.”

Mr. Garfinkle said he and Mr. Rosenbaum met via telephone on Tuesday, Sept. 8 with engineers and architects, and they determined that the existing building envelope from the 60 percent completed plan can still be utilized for the project, with a number of modifications, rather than scrapping the project entirely and re-designing a new building.

“It’s a shame that we have to spend an extra $81,000 in design work to reshuffle everything,” he said. “It’s a shame that we are not going to get the $2 to $3 million dollars we were hoping to get to have an SRE/ARFF combined building at this time. But nonetheless, we have an opportunity to move forward and not lose this FAA grant money, and I think we’re going to make it.”

Taking charge

Last month, airport manager Sean Flynn was told to take a paid leave of absence. Mr. Garfinkle, a private pilot and businessman appointed to the commission last March, has been the lead negotiator in an effort to dismiss Mr. Flynn. In recent statements, Mr. Garfinkle said, “We are in the process of negotiating an amicable separation.”

Mr. Flynn is in the third month of a new three-year contract that took effect July 1, worth $138,882 annually. Under the terms of the contract, if the airport commission dismisses Mr. Flynn, the commission must pay him through the end of the three-year contract.

The commission, by majority vote, could terminate the contract for cause by meeting a number of conditions. The commission must give the airport manager 30 days notice of the vote, as well as time to correct any deficiencies identified. The commission must also conduct an impartial hearing at least 10 days before the scheduled vote.

Mr. Garfinkel made only a veiled reference to ongoing discussions with Mr. Flynn at Thursday’s meeting. “The legal subcommittee hasn’t met but the legal team has certainly been active the past few weeks trying to come to a positive conclusion with the issues that have been very noticeably contained in the newspapers the past few weeks,” he said.

Following the FAA meeting report, commissioner Rich Michaelson demanded to know why deadlines were missed in the first place, and who could be held accountable. Ms. Potter, appointed acting manager in Mr. Flynn’s absence, said that although it couldn’t explain all of it, necessary re-bids for engineering services, amendments to engineering contracts, and changes within the airport commission added delays to the process.

“I am curious about how we got into this position, but right now the challenge is in front of us about what’s going to be done, and whether we think it was a good management or bad management or we think someone was at fault or not at fault, the essence of it is that the FAA has their own version and opinion, and that’s what I’m talking to right now,” Mr. Garfinkle said.

Tension takes off

The meeting also highlighted simmering tensions over Mr. Garfinkle’s management role. Mr. Garfinkle said he was surprised to learn from an FAA official that airport commissioner Beth Toomey, retired West Tisbury police chief, had called the FAA “and asked why we were there, what we were doing there, and why we were invited there.”

“I was a little bit more surprised when Mary Walsh, who is in charge of FAA New England, announced that she had gotten a lawyer’s letter from an attorney warning and advising her not to meet with Bob and myself,” Mr. Garfinkle said. In a later conversation with The Times, he declined to identify the lawyer or the subject.

Mr. Garfinkle asked Ms. Toomey why she contacted the FAA instead of approaching him first.

“I feel like there hasn’t been a lot of communication, and it feels like the chair and the vice-chair are managing the airport and not the manager, and I have concerns,” Ms. Toomey said.

“I’m not interested in getting into an argument with you, but if you’re talking about communication, that should start between you and I,” Mr. Garfinkle said. “Out of respect to my position, I think that was not an appropriate thing to do.”

In later comments, Mr. Rosenbaum said that “in talking to the FAA, they said it is very common for airport commissioners to be involved in all aspects of the airports operations and management, and this was something they encouraged and really appreciated the commissioners to do.”

Meeting deadlines


Also last week, Ms. Potter said that a number of efforts have been made to meet the deadline for several non-compliance issues noted by the FAA in an annual inspection in May. Ms. Potter said the existing wildlife management plan was reviewed by the FAA inspector and returned with comments. Ms. Potter said she reworked the plan and will have it back to the FAA by Wednesday.

She said they will be 30 days ahead of deadline for addressing the wildlife management plan.

Subject to weather conditions, she said the airport is scheduled for runway marking painting on September 28 and 29. The state will cover the cost.

At the end of the meeting on Thursday, the commission unanimously voted to go into executive session to discuss three open meeting law complaints and, if necessary, “to conduct strategy session in preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel and/or to conduct contract negotiations with nonunion personnel.”

Source:  http://www.mvtimes.com 


Assistant airport manager Deborah Potter said several non-compliance issues are being addressed.