Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cessna 172S Skyhawk, N5295Y, Mike Bravo LLC: Fatal accident occurred October 10, 2015 in Seville, Volusia County, Florida

Mike Bravo LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N5295Y

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Orlando FSDO-15

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA008 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 10, 2015 in Seville, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N5295Y
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

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 October 10, 2015, at 1500 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172S, N5295Y, was substantially damaged after a loss of control during a low altitude maneuver near Seville, Florida. The commercial pilot and pilot-rated passenger sustained serious injuries, and the rear passenger was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Mike Bravo LLC., and operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported near the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB), Daytona, Florida at 1314.

According to the operator, who had rented the airplane to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to "drop boxes" south of Lake Crescent, at a campsite managed by St. Johns River Water Management District. After loading the airplane with cargo, the pilot departed on the accident flight with the two passengers. After departing from DAB, the pilot descended the airplane to between 300 and 600 feet above the ground, configured the airplane with 20 degrees of flaps, and slowed it to 75 knots. After successfully dropping several boxes, and during the final drop, the airplane encountered a downdraft and lost altitude. The pilot attempted to recover, but the airplane subsequently impacted trees and terrain.

The airplane was recovered from the accident site and retained for further examination.

The 1453 weather conditions reported at DAB included scattered, towering cumulus clouds at 3,500 feet, scattered clouds at 5,000 feet, scattered clouds at 7.500 feet and a broken ceiling at 25,000 feet, and winds from 060 degrees at 6 knots. Additionally, towering cumulus clouds were noted to the south, and cumulonimbus clouds were noted in the distance to the east, southwest, and northwest of the airport.




















AIRCRAFT:   2002 Cessna 172S N5295Y, s/n: 172S9236

ENGINE: - M&M, S/N:      Lycoming IO-360-L2A, s/n: L-31476-51A

PROPELLER: – M&M, S/N:  McCauley 1A170E/JHA7660 s/n: 23080

APPROXIMATE TOTAL HOURS (estimated TT & TSMO from logbooks or other information):

ENGINE:       5448.2 ETT, 299.4 TSMOH at 100 hour inspection on 08/10/2015

PROPELLER:  PTT 6418.4, PTSMOH 3165.4

AIRFRAME:  6418.4 AFTT at 100 hour inspection on 08/10/2015

OTHER EQUIPMENT:      The following avionics were removed and are stored inside:  
KMA 28 Audio Panel, KX155A Radio NAV/COM, KT 76 Transponder,
KLN 94 GPS, KAP 140 Flight Control Computer

DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  On 10/10/15, N5295Y crashed in a wooded area.

DESCRIPTION OF DAMAGES:    There is substantial damage to the aircraft.

LOCATION OF AIRCRAFT:   Florida Air Recovery, Jacksonville, Florida

REMARKS:  Wreckage was disassembled for retrieval and subsequent inspection by NTSB.  Engine was partially disassembled for inspection. Engine accessories were removed.


Read more here:   http://www.avclaims.com/N5295Y.htm


SEVILLE -- Authorities continue to investigate a small plane crash in rural Seville on Saturday that killed a man and injured two others on board. 

Passenger Jeffrey Luong, 27, of Port Orange, died at the scene. Pilot Mark Michael Repanshek, 26, of Port Orange, and passenger Jarrett Bruckner, 24, of Furlong, Pa., were taken to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

Their identities were confirmed Sunday by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

All three of the occupants were alumni of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace.

According to the school, Luong graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Aviation Maintenance with a minor in Aviation Safety.

While attending Embry-Riddle, he was active in multiple organizations including the campus radio station WIKD 102.5 FM, Touch-N-Go Productions, First Generation Student Association, Broken Arrow Scenario Club, Jeep & 4X4 Club and Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.

Repanshek and Bruckner are current online graduate students with Embry-Riddle Worldwide, and Bruckner is a former Embry-Riddle certified flight instructor at the Daytona Beach campus, according to the school.

“The hearts of the entire Embry-Riddle community are with the family and friends of these young men,” said Embry-Riddle Interim President Dr. John R. Watret. “It deeply saddens us to lose one of our own, and we send strength to those recovering.”

Authorities say the small Cessna aircraft crashed Saturday afternoon at about 1:50 p.m. less than a mile north of the 700 block of Bunnell Road in the woods at the Double Bar B Ranch in the Seville area.  Authorities say the plane is being sent to Jacksonville to be further inspected. The aircraft has crashed before. According to an NTSB report, the plane landed in a fence in New Hampshire in 2010.

Source: http://www.baynews9.com





All three men on board a plane that crashed Saturday near Seville were Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduates, ERAU spokeswoman Melanie Hanns said Sunday.

Passenger Jeffrey Luong, a 27-year-old from Port Orange, died in the crash of a small Cessna plane in a heavily wooded area near Seville.

Pilot Mark Michael Repanshek, a 26-year-old from Port Orange, and passenger Jarrett Bruckner, a 24-year-old from Furlong, Pennsylvania, were hurt in the crash and taken to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

The university is expected to release additional information on the graduates later today. 

Bruckner's Facebook page indicates he is a First Officer for Republic Airlines. Republic Airways, an Indianapolis-based company that owns that airline, could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday.

The plane crashed shortly after it departed Daytona Beach International Airport about 1:30 p.m. Saturday, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration. The crash was reported to the Sheriff’s Office at 1:50 p.m.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office thinks the Cessna 172S Skyhawk was expected to return to the same airport, according to spokesman Andrew Gant.

The cause of the accident will be determined by the National Transportation Safety Board, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Source:  http://www.news-journalonline.com

A 47-year-old Port Orange man was killed and the pilot and another passenger were injured when a Cessna 172S Skyhawk plane crashed Saturday afternoon in a heavily wooded area near Seville in Volusia County's northwest corner. 

effrey Luong died in the crash shortly before 2 p.m. The plane went down in deep woods just east of Seville and north of the 700 block of Bunnell Road/County Road 305, according to Volusia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Andrew Gant. 

Pilot Mark Michael Repanshek, 26, also of Port Orange, and passenger Jarrett Bruckner, 24, of Furlong, Penn., were injured and transported by helicopter to Halifax Health Medical Center. Their conditions were not available Saturday night.

Emergency personnel initially had a hard time getting to the crash site, so a sheriff's helicopter took over.

"We're having a little bit of a challenge getting access to it," Paul Ebanks, Volusia County Fire Services division chief, said at the scene. "Air One put their medic down on the ground and started treating the patients."

The Sheriff's Office received a 9-1-1 call reporting the crash at 1:50 p.m., Gant said. Officials did not confirm what airport the plane departed from but dispatchers mentioned Daytona Beach on the police scanner.  

Shortly after the crash, the pilot told dispatchers he was suffering pain in his shoulder and his passengers were "not doing too good," according to police scanner chatter.

The medical examiner accessed the scene at 721 County Road 305, a gated property with a sign that read "Double Bar B Ranch."

The Federal Aviation Administration was notified of the crash. FAA officials did not return phone calls Saturday.

Source:  http://www.news-journalonline.com





VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — One person was killed and two others were injured Saturday afternoon when a Cessna 172S Skyhawk plane crashed in a wooded area in Seville, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said. 

The Cessna 172S Skyhawk crashed shortly before 2 p.m. less than a mile north of a ranch on Bunnell Road, said Andrew Gant, a Sheriff's Office spokesman.

A passenger, Jeffrey Luong, 27, of Port Orange was killed in the crash.


The plane's pilot, Mark Repanshek, 26, of Port Orange, was injured.

Another passenger, Jarrett Bruckner, 24, of Furlong, Pennsylvania, was also injured.

Both Repanshek and Bruckner were transported to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

Their conditions aren't known.

Rescue teams had a difficult time accessing the crash site because of the dense landscape.

Channel 9 learned the Cessna 172S Skyhawk place is registered out of Maryland.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash.  





Columbia LC41-550FG, N1058S: Fatal accident occurred October 09, 2015 on Buffalo Mountain, Johnson City, Washington County, Tennessee

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
CMI; Mobile, Alabama

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

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


William S. Gibbons, Jr: http://registry.faa.gov/N1058S  

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA006
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 09, 2015 in Erwin, TN
Aircraft: COLUMBIA AIRCRAFT MFG LC41 550FG, registration: N1058S
Injuries: 2 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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 9, 2015, about 1919 eastern daylight time, a Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing LC41-550FG, N1058S, impacted the ground in an uncontrolled descent after encountering a thunderstorm near Erwin, Tennessee. The private pilot and the passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight originated from the Tyson Airport (TYS) Knoxville, Tennessee, about 1830 and had an intended destination of Monroe County Airport (BMG), Bloomington, Indiana. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. 

The flight originated earlier in the day from the Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM), Orlando, Florida. Prior to departing ISM, the pilot's login credentials were used to access weather information via DUAT (Direct User Access Terminal). The information provided included weather along the planned route of flight in textual form The terminal area forecasts along the route of flight predicted showers and thunderstorms in the TYS area and north beginning about 1700. The weather report also included a "Severe Weather Outlook," which stated in part "There is a marginal risk of severe thunderstorm from southern New England to the Tennessee Valley. Scattered thunderstorms should occur today in a corridor from New York and parts of New England Southwestward to the Tennessee Valley region. A few of these storms may produce damaging gusts near severe limits and a tornado cannot be ruled out over the northeast." 

While en route, the pilot diverted to TYS as he wanted to "check the weather." The flight landed at TYS about 1745. DUAT records indicated that about 1750 the pilot's login credentials were used to access the system and obtain a weather briefing. The weather briefing included a textual description of weather reports along the intended route of flight, and spanning as far as Florida and the New England area. About 1830, the airplane departed TYS and was observed on radar climbing to 15,000 ft mean sea level (msl) on an easterly heading, paralleling an east-west line of convective weather to the north. During the flight, the pilot was in communication with air traffic control (ATC) personnel.

At 1836:02 the TYS controller contacted an air carrier flight descending into TYS and stated in part, "…i got a Columbia that's trying to get towards uh Bloomington Indiana uh would you say going up to like sixteen thousand uh would be a good idea through that area or should i take him somewhere else." 

At 1836:13 the air carrier flight stated "absolutely no he needs to go somewhere else."

At 1836:21 the accident flight acknowledged the transmission.

At 1836:21 the controller stated in part "…if i take you to the north i got some areas of uh some lighter precipitation off to the north uh i can get you that way you might be able to cut through that way would you want to try that."

At 1836:37 the controller then stated "that's gonna be my lightest areas i have a few areas of heavy precipitation but it's more scattered and not as uh well us interconnect as the stuff down here towards the uh southwest…"

For the next approximate 9 minutes the controller provided clearances for the accident pilot to deviate and turn left and/or right as necessary.

At 1845:10 the controller, in communication with another ATC facility stated in part "…he's trying to get through this line that we told him he really shouldn't even have departed cause he can't get through the line."

For the next approximate 9 minutes the controller provided deviation clearances and radio frequency change for the accident flight.

At 1854:28 the controller stated "…based on the weather i'm showing um do you have any uh nexrad or anything on board."

At 1854:36 the pilot replied "i do have nexrad on board"

At 1854:41 the controller stated "…just trying to come up with a plan for you here looks like ah right around well let me see here about your ah eleven o'clock position and about forty miles forty one forty two miles um there's an area if you kinda cut north from there looks like you may be able to hang back towards the northwest its (unintelligible) precip that i'm showing but ah just keep me advised as to what youd like to do."

At 1855:08 the pilot replied "yeah i think we're looking at the same spot i was looking at either just west or just east of ah is it Greenville."

At 1911:09 the pilot requested and received clearance to turn 15° to the left.

At 1913:46 the pilot was given permission and acknowledged the clearance to climb from 15,000 ft msl to 17,000 ft msl.

At 1918:29 the pilot stated "five eight sierra", which was the last recorded transmission from the accident flight.

After the last radio transmission, radar data showed the airplane descending from approximately 17,500 ft to ground level, in approximately one minute, in the vicinity of the accident location.

Multiple witnesses observed the airplane descending, turning to the right, and then exploding on ground impact. One witness reported that, at the time of the accident, the area was receiving a "hard rain." 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot, age 45, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings, which was issued December 28, 2013. He held an FAA third-class medical certificate, issued April 18, 2014, with a limitation that he "must wear corrective lenses." At the time of the medical examination, the pilot reported 279 total hours of flight experience with 73.9 hours in the previous 6 months. At the time of this writing, no pilot logbooks were provided to the.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the airplane was issued an airworthiness certificate in 2007 and registered to the pilot in January 2015. The most recent recorded annual inspection was on April 15, 2015, and, at that time, the airplane had 1,098.7 total flight hours. The most recent maintenance was recorded on June 24, 2015, and, at that time, the airplane had 1,113.1 total flight hours. 

The airplane was powered by a Continental Motors TSIO-550-C20B engine that, at the time of the airplane's most recent annual inspection, had accrued 37.5 flight hours since major overhaul. The most recent engine maintenance occurred on August 17, 2015, which was an oil change; at that time the engine had accrued 76.3 hours since major overhaul. 

The airplane was not equipped with on-board weather radar; however, it was equipped to receive XM Satellite Weather. The airplane was also equipped with a Garmin G1000 avionics suite, which was capable of displaying the aviation weather data provided through Sirius XM Satellite Weather services. According to information provided by Sirius XM Satellite Radio, the pilot had established an account for aviator pro aviation weather and Sirius XM Select audio services on July 6, 2011, and the account was current at the time of the accident.

According to Sirius' website the aviator pro service provided the following products: High-Resolution NEXRAD Radar, High-Resolution Radar, Severe Weather Storm Tracks, Lightning, Winds Aloft (at Altitude) SPC Aviation Weather Watches, PIREPs, METARs, TAFs, Turbulence, Satellite Mosaic, AIRMETs, SIGMETS, as well as various other aviation weather services.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1937 special recorded weather observation at Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI), Bristol, Tennessee, located about 13 miles to the northwest of the accident location, included variable wind at 3 knots, visibility 6 miles due to thunderstorms and rain, scattered cumulonimbus clouds at 2,300 ft above ground level (agl), broken at 6,000 feet agl, overcast at 11,000 feet agl, temperature 19°C, dew point 17°C, and barometric altimeter 30.05 inches of mercury. The remarks section of the special weather observation stated that a thunderstorm began at 1931 with occasional lighting in cloud and cloud to ground at the airport. The thunderstorms in the vicinity were moving east.

The 1915 recorded weather observation at Elizabethton Airport (0A9), Elizabethton, Tennessee, located about 10 miles to the northeast of the accident location, included calm winds, 10 miles visibility, few clouds at 6,000 feet agl, scattered clouds at 7,500 feet agl, broken clouds at 9,000 feet agl, and barometric altimeter 30.03 inches of mercury.

Weather radar data indicated that the line of convectively contained cells from 5 dBZ (decibels of equivalent reflectivity) to greater than 55dBZ, and the weather cell around the time and vicinity of the accident indicated greater than 55 dBZ.

At 1855, a convective SIGMET was issued advising of a line of thunderstorms 50 miles wide along a line that went through the accident region. The line was reported to be moving from 260° at 30 knots, with cloud tops to FL440 (44,000 feet msl).

Lightning data between 1900 and the time of the accident for the area surrounding the accident location showed lightning activity in the area; however, there was no lightning activity associated with the cell that coincided with the location of the airplane at the time of the accident.



Figure 1: KRMX Reflectivity Product initiated at 1915, White Line was Accident Flight Path at 1917

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-13 infrared cloud-top temperatures varied between about -20°C and -53°C in the accident region, corresponding to heights of about 22,600 ft msl and greater than 35,000 ft msl, respectively.

According to the United States Naval Observatory, official sunset was at 1902, and the end of civil twilight was at 1923. Moonset occurred at 1725, and 10% of the moon disc would have been visible had the moon been above the horizon.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was found in the Cherokee National Forest, in the vicinity of the accident flight's last radar return, at an elevation of 2,825 ft msl. The slope around the accident site varied between 20° and 30°. The airplane impacted two 27-ft-tall trees. The debris path was fairly compact, and a considerable amount of debris was located within an impact crater that was about the length of the airplane's wingspan. The airframe was impact-damaged, segmented, and thermally destroyed. The engine was found in a 4-ft-deep crater and remained attached to the firewall. The engine mounts were impact-separated and were located with the main wreckage. The propeller was impact-separated at the crankshaft propeller flange. 

The attitude indicator was located within the debris field; it exhibited impact damage and displayed a nose-down, inverted right-wing-low attitude. No other instruments were readable. The nose landing gear wheel was impact-separated and located about 45 ft downhill from the main wreckage. The nose landing gear strut was impacted-separated and was located in the impact crater. The main wing spar was located in the impact crater. It was composed of composite material, was thermally destroyed, and exhibited some impact splintering. 

Left Wing

The left wing was thermally destroyed. The left wing navigation light was located at one end of the impact crater. The left wing speed brake was found in the stowed position. The left main wheel assembly was impact-separated. The aileron and flap were thermally destroyed, and an accurate flap position could not be conclusively determined.

Right Wing

The right wing was thermally destroyed. The right wing navigation light was located at the opposite end of the impact crater from the left wing navigation light. The right wing speed brake was found in the stowed position. The right main wheel assembly was thermally destroyed. The aileron and flap were thermally destroyed, and an accurate flap position could not be conclusively determined.

Empennage

The empennage assembly, which included the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, was thermally damaged. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer but exhibited thermal damage on its leading edge. The rudder cables remained attached to their respective rudder horns. 

Engine

The engine remained attached to the firewall, which had become impact separated from the airframe. The engine was an TSIO-550- C, 310-hp. The propeller was separated at the propeller flange. The No. 6 cylinder was impact separated from the engine. The oil pan was thermally damaged. The camshaft was visible, and all of the connecting rods were visible and remained attached to the crankshaft. The crankshaft exhibited torsional twist, 45° lip faces, and radial cracking.

The fuel pump was thermally destroyed. The fuel manifold valve was impact separated; it was disassembled and found to contain soot and debris but was otherwise unremarkable. The magnetos were impact separated, fragmented, and thermally destroyed. The oil pump was impact damaged.

Propeller

The Hartzell 3-bladed propeller was impact separated at the propeller crankshaft flange. The spinner was located within the impact crater, exhibited extensive torsional twisting, and was fragmented. All three blades remained attached. Two of the blade tips were impact separated, one about 31 inches from the hub and the other about 31 1/8 inches from the hub. The third blade was intact. All 3 propeller blades were bent aft and formed around the hub. All 3 blades also exhibited leading edge gouging and slight twisting, and the outboard edge of 2 of the blades exhibited forward bending. The damage to the propeller assembly was consistent with it being under power at the time of impact. 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Division of Forensic Pathology, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The report listed the cause of death as "multiple blunt force injuries."

Toxicological testing on the pilot's muscle tissue was performed at the FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

TheFAA Bioaeronautical Research Sciences Laboratory toxicology testing was limited by the absence of available blood or body fluids; only muscle tissue was available. Testing detected 0.01 g/dl of ethanol as well as citalopram and its metabolite N-desmethylcitalopram in muscle. 

According to the FAA, ethanol is a powerful central nervous system depressant that distributes evenly throughout tissues based on the water content of that tissue. In the United States, a blood level of 0.08 g/dl is considered impairing, and current laws prohibit operating a motor vehicle at this level but impairment has been documented at levels as low as 0.02 g/dl. Ethanol may also be produced in the body after death by microbial activity.

Citalopram is a prescription antidepressant also named Celexa. The pilot's medical records documented that the pilot's depression had improved significantly on citalopram, and his personal physician noted on the last visit on July 14, 2015, the pilot was doing well on medication, had no significant depressive symptoms, no difficulty concentrating, and no suicidal thoughts or wishes. According to the FAA's Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners, pilots treated for depression with citalopram may be considered for special issuance of a medical certificate if the pilot has been clinically stable as well as on a stable dose of medication without any aeromedically significant side effects and/or an increase in symptoms. For further information, reference the NTSB Medical Officer's Factual Report in the public docket for with this investigation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The FAA publication "General Aviation Pilot's Guide to Preflight Weather Planning, Weather Self-Briefings, and Weather Decision Making" states, in part: "Datalink does not provide real-time information. Although weather and other navigation displays can give pilots an unprecedented quantity of high quality weather data, their use is safe and appropriate only for strategic decision making (attempting to avoid the hazard altogether). Datalink is not accurate enough or current enough to be safely used for tactical decision making (negotiating a path through a weather hazard area, such as a broken line of thunderstorms). Be aware that onboard weather equipment can inappropriately influence your decision to continue a flight. No matter how "thin" a line of storms appears to be, or how many "holes" you think you see on the display, it is not safe to fly through them."

The FAA's Pilot Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Chapter 10, "Weather Theory" states, in part: "…if an aircraft enters a thunderstorm, the aircraft could experience updraft and downdraft that exceed 3,000 feet per minute…a good rule of thumb is to circumnavigate thunderstorms by at least 5 nautical miles…if flying around a thunderstorm is not an option, stay on the ground until it passes."

FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 00-24, "Thunderstorms," dated February 19, 2013, Section 8, "Ground-Based Weather Radar" states the following with regard to "Echo Intensity (Reflectivity);"

The colors on radar images represent different echo intensities (also called reflectivity) measured in decibels of Z (dBZ) (equivalent reflectivity). The dBZ values increase based on the strength of the return signal from targets in the atmosphere. Each image includes a color scale that represents a correlation between intensity value and color on the radar image…Reflectivity is correlated to intensity of precipitation. When the dBZ value reaches 15, light precipitation is present. The higher the reflectivity value, the higher the rainfall rate. Reflectivity is also correlated with intensity terminology (phraseology) for air traffic control purposes…" Figure 2 shows the correlation between reflectivity and ATC terminology.

Figure 2: ATC Phraseology Chart

Radar dBZ Scale

Review of WSR-88D Level-II weather radar imagery from Knoxville, Tennessee, showed that the color scale used by that system used 16 various colors and shades of colors. The color scale is shown in Figure 3:

Figure 3: WSR-88D Level II Color Scale

Review of the XM satellite reflectivity color bar showed that XM used 7 different colors to display weather radar echo intensities. The color scale was coded from "light" to "heavy" as shown in Figure 4:

Figure 4: XM Satellite Reflectivity Color Scale

Review of the color bar used in the Garmin G1000 for display of XM weather radar imagery showed that it used 6 different colors to display weather radar echo intensities. The color scale was coded as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Garmin G1000 Reflectivity Color Scale


NTSB Identification: ERA16FA006
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 09, 2015 in Erwin, TN
Aircraft: COLUMBIA AIRCRAFT MFG LC41 550FG, registration: N1058S
Injuries: 2 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 October 9, 2015, about 1919 eastern daylight time, a Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing LC41-550FG, N1058S, was destroyed following a collision with terrain near Erwin, Tennessee. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The flight originated from the McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS), Knoxville, Tennessee, about 1832, and was destined for Monroe County Airport (BMG), Bloomington, Indiana. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The airplane was owned and operated by a private individual. The personal flight was conducted under the provision of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The flight initially departed earlier in the day from the Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM), Orlando, Florida, at 1306, with an intended destination of BMG. While enroute, the pilot requested to divert to TYS due to a "significant amount of thunderstorms." That flight landed at 1558.

Preliminary radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, indicated that the accident flight departed TYS about 1832, on a ground track of about 080 degrees. About 18 minutes later, the flight leveled off about 15,000 feet above mean sea level (msl). Then, about 16 minutes later, the airplane turned left to a ground track of about 330 degrees, and began a climb to about 17,000 feet. About 3 minutes after leveling off at 17,000 feet, the flight began descending. The last radar return, recorded at 1919, was in the vicinity of the accident location, at an altitude of 3,400 feet msl.

Several eyewitnesses reported seeing the lights of the airplane as it descended downward. Some of the witnesses also reported seeing lightning and heavy rain in the vicinity about the time of the accident.

The airplane impacted trees and terrain located within the Cherokee National Forest, at an approximate elevation of 2,880 feet. The debris path was compact and the ground and tree scars were consistent with a near vertical descent, and a nose down impact angle. The wreckage was fragmented and thermally destroyed.

The 1853 recorded weather at the Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI), Blountville, Tennessee, located 16 miles to the north of the accident location, included light rain and wind from 250 degrees at 6 knots. A special recorded weather observation, at 1937, included thunderstorms with occasional lighting in the cloud as well as cloud to ground lighting. The observation further indicated that thunderstorms were in the vicinity of the airport and moving to the east.




WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – A deadly plane crash on Buffalo Mountain inspired one first responder to build a memorial to honor the victims. 

On October 9th, 2015 William “Bill” Gibbons and his daughter Abbey died in a plane crash in Washington County, TN on Buffalo Mountain.

“The storm had hit, when we got here there was still a fire going smoke was pouring out everywhere, it’s usually rescue mode but in this situation there was nothing to rescue,” said Lt. Doug Gregg with the Washington County, TN Sheriff’s Office, one many emergency workers who responded to the crash.

“We did everything we could for 3 days to try to get everything that we could out of here and send it back home but there are still things here that need to be remembered,” said Gregg.

For two weeks, Lt. Gregg, hiked a mile and a half to the secluded area where the crash happened and built a memorial.

“I worked off and on my off time for probably two weeks then I had about two weeks to sit and think about it,” said Gregg.

Gregg told News Channel 11’s Micah Smith, building the memorial helped him process the incident.

“When officers work scenes like this there’s always a piece of you that stays at the scene. I feel more at peace and it’s not just a memorial for them, it’s for the officers [who] worked this — the EMS guys and the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office — everybody who had a part in this,” said Gregg.

Although the memorial was a part of Gregg’s healing process, he told News Channel 11, he will be happy if it also brings peace to others.

Gregg said he hasn’t told many people about the memorial, including the family of the victims, but he does keep in contact with friends of the family.

Original article can be found here: http://wdtn.com

William "Bill" Gibbons with his daughter Abbey



Bill Gibbons, vice president of engineering at Cook Medical.


Abbey Hardison Gibbons

William S. "Bill" Gibbons Jr. 



William S. "Bill" Gibbons Jr. 


















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

William S. Gibbons, Jr: http://registry.faa.gov/N1058S  

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA006
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 09, 2015 in Erwin, TN
Aircraft: COLUMBIA AIRCRAFT MFG LC41 550FG, registration: N1058S
Injuries: 2 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 October 9, 2015, about 1919 eastern daylight time, a Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing LC41-550FG, N1058S, was destroyed following a collision with terrain near Erwin, Tennessee. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The flight originated from the McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS), Knoxville, Tennessee, about 1832, and was destined for Monroe County Airport (BMG), Bloomington, Indiana. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The airplane was owned and operated by a private individual. The personal flight was conducted under the provision of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The flight initially departed earlier in the day from the Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM), Orlando, Florida, at 1306, with an intended destination of BMG. While enroute, the pilot requested to divert to TYS due to a "significant amount of thunderstorms." That flight landed at 1558.

Preliminary radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, indicated that the accident flight departed TYS about 1832, on a ground track of about 080 degrees. About 18 minutes later, the flight leveled off about 15,000 feet above mean sea level (msl). Then, about 16 minutes later, the airplane turned left to a ground track of about 330 degrees, and began a climb to about 17,000 feet. About 3 minutes after leveling off at 17,000 feet, the flight began descending. The last radar return, recorded at 1919, was in the vicinity of the accident location, at an altitude of 3,400 feet msl.

Several eyewitnesses reported seeing the lights of the airplane as it descended downward. Some of the witnesses also reported seeing lightning and heavy rain in the vicinity about the time of the accident.

The airplane impacted trees and terrain located within the Cherokee National Forest, at an approximate elevation of 2,880 feet. The debris path was compact and the ground and tree scars were consistent with a near vertical descent, and a nose down impact angle. The wreckage was fragmented and thermally destroyed.

The 1853 recorded weather at the Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI), Blountville, Tennessee, located 16 miles to the north of the accident location, included light rain and wind from 250 degrees at 6 knots. A special recorded weather observation, at 1937, included thunderstorms with occasional lighting in the cloud as well as cloud to ground lighting. The observation further indicated that thunderstorms were in the vicinity of the airport and moving to the east.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Nashville FSDO-19

Any witnesses should email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.




William Gibbons with his daughter Abbey



Bill Gibbons, vice president of engineering at Cook Medical.


It will be up to an insurance company to retrieve the charred airplane debris left after the craft crashed on Buffalo Mountain Friday night, according to Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration were on scene Saturday and Sunday to inspect the aircraft at the site, but didn’t remove any items from the area, he said. A final report on the crash could take as long as a year, but the agency could have a preliminary report this week.

“When the NTSB left, they said it will be up to the insurance company to contact the (Cherokee) National Forest and set up something to get the rest of the plane out,” Graybeal said Monday. “They’re required to remove the plane, (and) they’re supposed to contact the forestry service today to go look at it.”

Bill Gibbons, 45, and his 15-year-old daughter, Abbey, died in the nose-dive crash on the heavily wooded mountain. Responders removed the bodies, which were taken to the William Jenkins Forensic Center at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mountain Home, for tests to confirm their identity.

Nearly three dozen responders were at the command post or crash site Saturday and Sunday, Graybeal said. Unicoi County authorities initially thought the crash was on that side of the line, but once they arrived at the scene and took a GPS reading, they determined it was in Washington County.

Graybeal said Washington County responders arrived to set up a command post around 6:30 a.m. Saturday, then worked to organize a plan to reach the site, which proved to be difficult.

“They took firetower road five miles with four-wheel drive vehicles, then got on ATVs for about a half mile, then hiked 400 yards on foot,” he said. Responders had to cut trees and clear a path for the ATVs.

“The investigator said after he looked at it he didn’t have to take any items from the plane,” Graybeal said. Responders were able to pack up and leave the area by 5 p.m. Sunday.

The plane was at about 14,000 feet and headed into a storm system over the Tri-Cities when it went off radar before the crash was reported. Graybeal said the impact of the crash drove the plane engine several feet into the ground, and the plane caught on fire.

“It was a hot fire. If it hadn’t been raining as hard as it was, it would have set the mountain on fire,” he said.

Gibbons and his daughter were flying from Knoxville back to their home in Bloomington, Ind., when the plane went down. Numerous witnesses on the Unicoi County side of the mountain saw the plane headed down before it disappeared, then heard a loud noise and saw a flash.

Source:  http://www.johnsoncitypress.com


Abbey Hardison Gibbons


Date Of Death: October 9, 2015

Service Date: 3:00 pm Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church.

Abbey Hardison Gibbons, 15, passed away on Friday, October 9, 2015.  She was born in Winston-Salem, NC and was a sophomore at Bloomington High School South.  Abbey was a kind and loving soul who excelled in the classroom as well as in her extracurricular activities.  She was active in competitive cheerleading with Velocity Cheer, as well as a JV football cheerleader at BHSS.  Abbey loved her French classes and persuaded her family to take a trip to Paris so she could be fully immersed in the language and culture.  She had decided her dream college was going to be the University of North Carolina and was putting her academic path in place to make that a reality. Abbey had dreams of traveling the world, specifically Africa, as a photo-journalist and had recently added sky-diving to her bucket list. 

Abbey had numerous friends and they were always welcome and comfortable in her home. She enjoyed being in the middle of large groups but also relished her quiet time with just a few friends, catching up on old episodes of New Girl and The Gilmore Girls.

As a twin, Abbey leaves behind a special bond with her brother, Will, and her mother, Emily.  She is also survived by her grandparents, Sandra and Robert Bell of Goldsboro, NC, her grandmother Mary Jane Holtoner of Goldsboro, NC, her grandfather, Stewart Gibbons (Jane) of Tampa, FL, her uncle, Jeffery Bell (Reagan) of Smithfield, NC and cousins, Finnegan and Teague.  Abbey was proceeded in death by her great grandparents, Colonel William and Paula Gibbons of Macon, GA, and General Stanley and Mary Jane Holtoner of New York, NY.

Abbey was on a father-daughter trip with her father, Bill, doing what they loved - riding roller coasters and flying - and will be laid to rest alongside him in North Carolina at a later date.  Services will be held in Bloomington, IN at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church, with visitation from 1:00-3:00.  In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Middle Way House (www.middlewayhouse.org), Community Kitchen of Monroe County (www.monroecommunitykitchen.com), or Water for Children Africa (www.waterforchildrenafrica.org).

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.allenfuneralhome.org

Source:  http://allenfuneralhome.org



William S. Gibbons Jr.

Date Of Death: October 9, 2015

Service Date: 3:00 pm Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church.

William S. Gibbons, Jr. 45, passed away on Friday, October 9, 2015.  He was born in Goldsboro, NC and was Vice President of Engineering at Cook Medical in Bloomington, IN.  Bill was married to Emily Bell Gibbons, also born in Goldsboro, NC and had two children, 15-year-old twins Will and Abbey.  His family was his life and everything he did was in support of them. 

Bill was the consummate professional as he moved through the ranks at Cook Medical, starting as a Development Engineer and President of Endoscopy in the Winston-Salem office.  In 2009 Cook moved Bill and his family to the Bloomington headquarters, where he was named to his current role of VP of Engineering.  Bill was a quiet executive, leading by example.  His group included over 350 employees in eight locations around the world.  

Bill also led by example in his academic life, graduating Magna Cum Laude from North Carolina State University with a degree in aerospace engineering which he used to launch his career.  Never satisfied with his learning, Bill received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina and has been party to multiple patents. 

It has been said that Bill never saw his work as the tools and devices, but as the people for whom the devices were created.  No matter the topic or the question, it always came back to the patient.  His colleagues and employees felt this in his every-day life and he leaves enormous shoes to fill at Cook. 

In addition to his family, which was always his greatest joy, and his work, which allowed him to use his knowledge to make this world a better place, Bill loved to fly.  He traveled the world for his work and it was through this, and his early interest in aerospace engineering, that led him to get his private pilot's license.  He loved being in the sky over southern Indiana on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, he loved being able to jump down to North Carolina to see friends and family at a moment's notice, and he loved taking his family on little get-aways or to watch their beloved NC State Wolfpack play ball. 

Bill will be greatly missed by his many friends and co-workers and is survived by his wife, Emily and his son Will, both of Bloomington, his mother, Mary Jane Holtoner of Goldsboro, NC, his father, Stewart Gibbons (Jane) of Tampa, FL, his parents-in-law, Sandra and Robert Bell of Goldsboro, his brother-in-law, Jeffery Bell (Reagan), and nephews, Finnegan and Teague.  Bill was proceeded in death by his grandparents, Colonel William and Paula Gibbons of Macon, GA, and General Stanley and Mary Jane Holtoner of New York, NY.

Bill was on a father-daughter trip with his daughter, Abbey, doing what they loved - riding roller coasters and flying - and he will be laid to rest alongside her in North Carolina at a later date.  Services will be held in Bloomington, IN at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church, with visitation from 1:00-3:00. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Middle Way House (www.middlewayhouse.org), Community Kitchen of Monroe County (www.monroecommunitykitchen.com), or Water for Children Africa (www.waterforchildrenafrica.org). 

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.allenfuneralhome.org

Source:  http://allenfuneralhome.org



WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - Two people found dead at the site of a plane crash in eastern Tennessee have an Indiana connection.

Bill Gibbons, vice president of engineering at Cook Medical, along with his daughter were in a plane crash on Buffalo Mountain, according to a Cook Medical spokesperson. Gibbons' daughter, Abbey, was a sophomore at Bloomington South, according to a district spokesperson.

The Monroe County Community School Corporation issued a statement Saturday, saying:

"The Monroe County Community School Corporation and the Bloomington High School South community are deeply saddened by the loss of beloved South student, Abbey Gibbons, and her father, Bill Gibbons. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family, friends, and all those affected by this tragedy. Our thoughts are with them as we remember and grieve the loss of a wonderful, caring, and exceptional student.

Bloomington High School South Principal Mark Fletcher expressed, "We are all in shock and saddened, to say the least, with the news of the Gibbons' tragic accident.  Such fantastic people who were thought so highly of by all. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

A district spokesperson further said the district's Director of Student Services would be coordinating with a team of school social workers in addition to faculty at Bloomington South to provide extra counseling support for students who need it.

The president of Cook Medical and Cook Group struggled to find the words to explain impact Bill Gibbons had on the global company and the pride he had for his children and family.

Pete Yonkman explained, "He changed our product and changed people’s lives."

As the vice president of engineering, Gibbons was responsible for the development and oversight of the 4,000 different medical devices Cook manufactures and sells around the world.

According to Yonkman, Gibbons "...had his fingerprints on all those products," and he was "passionate about inventing devices that save lives. He felt that responsibility very deeply."

The effort to determine what exactly went wrong with Gibbons' plane has been the work of multiple state and federal agencies across Tennessee. Emergency response and forensic teams traveled by ATV and foot to the site of the crash, and spent hours sifting through debris.

The search and rescue leader for Washington County EMS in Tennessee, Lee Peace, said several pieces of wreckage were partially buried.

"The biggest piece of the plane that we saw was the tail section, the last maybe three feet of the tail," Peace said. "Nothing else was really recognizable."

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said the victims were ejected from the aircraft. The bodies were found near the head of Ramsey Creek Friday night at about 11pm, about three hours after investigators believe the plane crashed. A crew in a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter found the wreckage using infrared technology. Then, Unicoi County emergency response workers secured the scene.

NTSB investigators said the plane left Knoxville, Tenn., for Bloomington and, according to FlightAware.com, the four-seat plane lost its signal around 7:20 p.m. The Gibbons were on their way home from a Fall Break trip.

Yonkman said Gibbons often talked of his children.

"He loved them so much. He was so proud of them. He was a father that was fun to be around."

And, Yonkman explained, coworkers around the world looked up to Gibbons.

"He was passionate about people, passionate about work, passionate about family, passionate about the environment."

Gibbons received his pilot's license less than two years ago. The plane he was flying was his own private plane.

The director of the Unicoi County Emergency Management Agency said weather may have played a role in the crash, but no definitive cause has been released. In fact, investigators say it could take six months to a year to determine the exact cause.

"They're collecting data from the structure of the aircraft, they're looking to see what may have caused it," explained Nes Lovotch, director of the Washington County/Johnson City Emergency Management Agency. "If they can collect enough evidence from the bodies that were there, they can tell whether it was a heart attack, but in this case they weren't able to do that."

One NTSB investigator on-scene said smaller aircraft like the one Gibbons was flying don't carry black boxes, so his agency will look at other technology in the aircraft that can help indicate what happened.

Source:  http://www.wthr.com




The Washington County Sheriff’s Office officially released the names of the victims of a fatal plane crash that happened Friday night.

A press release sent by the the sheriff’s office on Sunday said the victims of the crash have been identified as William “Bill” Gibbons and his teenage daughter, Abbey, both of Bloomington, Indiana. 

It was raining when the small plane crashed on Buffalo Mountain near the Unicoi County-Washington County line during its route from Knoxville to Bloomington, killing Gibbons and his daughter. Sheriff Ed Graybeal said on Sunday that Gibbons was likely following a flight plan that led him over Johnson City when the plane went down just after 7 p.m. on Friday.

Earlier Saturday, FAA spokesman Jim Peters released a statement regarding the plane and its flight plan:

“A Columbia LC41-550FG aircraft crashed in the vicinity of Johnson City, TN last night. Local authorities will release the names and conditions of the two people on board. The FAA will then release the aircraft registration. The aircraft was heading to Bloomington, In from Knoxville, TN. The FAA will investigate.”

Rescue teams, investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board worked until the late afternoon on Sunday to inspect the debris field on Buffalo Mountain. The investigation into the cause of the crash could last anywhere form six months to a year, according to a NTSB air safety investigator.

According to Bill Gibbons’ Facebook page, he was originally from Goldsboro, N.C., and studied biomedical engineering at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He as vice president of Cook Medical in Bloomington.

Cook Medical, a medical equipment manufacturer in Bloomington, posted a statement on their Facebook page Saturday afternoon acknowledging the death of Gibbons and his daughter in a plane crash outside of Knoxville. 

The bodies were recovered Saturday and sent to the William L. Jenkins Forensic Center for autopsy. 

Source:  http://www.johnsoncitypress.com

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator has now arrived on the scene of Friday night’s deadly plane crash on Buffalo Mountain.

Air safety investigator Shawn Etcher told News 5 WCYB’s Cassandra Sweetman the plane involved was a four-seat, single-engine Columbia aircraft. The plane had left Knoxville and was headed for Bloomington, Indiana, when it crashed before 8pm.

Also late Saturday, the Washington County medical examiner returned to the staging area from the crash scene and said he cannot yet confirm the identities of the victims. In fact, it could take a few days. He has to examine evidence and talk to the family of who he believes the victims may be.

However, NBC affiliate WTHR in Indianapolis reported Bloomington company Cook Medical announced that Bill Gibbons, the company’s vice president of engineering, was in the plane, along with his daughter.

Cook Medical released this statement: Our hearts are heavy today as we learned about the passing of our friend and coworker. Last night, Bill Gibbons, our vice president of engineering, and his daughter were involved in a plane crash near Knoxville, TN. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gibbons family.

A spokesperson for the Monroe County Community School Corporation, where Gibbon's daughter attended school, also released a statement Saturday night.

Whenever there is a tragedy of this nature, our Director of Student Services, Becky Rose, MSW, LCSW, coordinates with a team of our school social workers, in addition to faculty at the building directly affected, to provide extra counseling support for students. That process began immediately upon our hearing of the tragic news this weekend.

 "The Monroe County Community School Corporation and the Bloomington High School South community are deeply saddened by the loss of beloved South student, Abbey Gibbons. and her father, Bill Gibbons. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family, friends, and all those affected by this tragedy. Our thoughts are with them as we remember and grieve the loss of a wonderful, caring, and exceptional student. Bloomington High School South Principal Mark Fletcher expressed, "We are all in shock and saddened, to say the least, with the news of the Gibbons' tragic accident.  Such fantastic people who were thought so highly of by all. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

Midday Saturday, the ETSU William L. Jenkins Forensic Center team started heading up the mountain to photograph and collect the bodies of the two victims. Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said the two victims were ejected from the aircraft.

The bodies were found near the head of Ramsey Creek, Friday night at about 11pm. A crew in a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter found the wreckage using infrared technology. Then, Unicoi County emergency response workers secured the scene.

Trucks and all-terrain vehicles were only able to take investigators part of the way to the site. Investigators had to hike the rest of the way.

News 5 WCYB's Cassandra Sweetman, on the scene, reported the crash actually occurred on the Washington County side of the Buffalo Mountain ridge line. That meant Washington County agencies led search and recovery efforts, in coordination with Unicoi County agencies, until the NTSB arrived.

The plane came crashing down on Buffalo Mountain near Erwin before 8pm Friday.

That's when emergency crews started climbing Buffalo Mountain on foot, and the THP helicopter with an infrared camera started searching for the wreckage.

Sheriff Hensley said the crews searched a five-mile radius, centered in an area north of Pinnacle Tower.

The director of the Unicoi County Emergency Management Agency told News 5 WCYB's Maggie Smolka some people on the ground heard what they thought was a plane’s engine making a sputtering sound. They did say they couldn’t see a point of impact.

Maggie was reporting from the staging area at the Unicoi County tourism center off Interstate 26. Buffalo Mountain is directly behind it.

The emergency director also said it was hard to find anything because the terrain is not the best and there are a lot of trees around. Also, it was nighttime and the weather had been rainy.

He did say the weather may have played a role in whatever happened.

Source:  http://www.wcyb.com





WASHINGTON COUNTY,  Tenn. (October 10, 2015) – The vice president of engineering at Cook Medical and his daughter died in a plane crash in eastern Tennessee Friday night.

William Gibbons was the pilot of the Columbia LC41-550FG plane and his daughter Abbey Gibbons was the passenger.

Cook Medical public relations representative Marsha Lovejoy released this statement to CBS4:

Our hearts are heavy today as we learned about the passing of our friend and coworker. Last night, Bill Gibbons, our vice president of engineering, and his daughter were involved in a plane crash near Knoxville, TN. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gibbons family.

According to the Johnson City Press, the small plane was headed to Bloomington when it crashed near Knoxville, Tennessee around 7:15 p.m. Friday.

Emergency radio communications told the Johnson City Press that traffic controllers at Tri-Cities Regional Airport lost contact with the pilot at about 14,000 feet.

Investigators believe inclement weather was a factor in the crash.

Abbey was a sophomore at Bloomington High School South. According to one of her teachers, she was a stellar French student and a junior varsity cheerleader. She has a twin brother, and she would have turned 16 in December.

Source:  http://cbs4indy.com


A plane headed to Bloomington crashed in the mountains of northeastern Tennessee Friday night, killing the pilot, William S. Gibbons Jr. of Bloomington, and his daughter Abbey, a sophomore at Bloomington High School South. Cook Medical public relations representative Marsha Lovejoy released this statement to FOX59: 

"Our hearts are heavy today as we learned about the passing of our friend and coworker. Last night, Bill Gibbons, our vice president of engineering, and his daughter were involved in a plane crash near Knoxville, TN. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gibbons family.'

Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal told the Johnson City Press that the first emergency workers reached the crash site Saturday morning on Buffalo Mountain, southwest of Johnson City, Tennessee. 

EMS trucks and all-terrain vehicles were taking a forensic team from East Tennessee State University’s Jenkins Forensic Center as far up Buffalo Mountain as possible to investigate the crash, but they would have to hike the rest of the way in.

Graybeal did not release the identities of the two killed in the crash, telling the Johnson City Press that federal authorities had been called in to investigate.

The plane went down beyond the Pinnacle Fire Tower trail southwest of Johnson City. According to emergency radio communications, traffic controllers at Tri-Cities Regional Airport lost contact with the pilot of a single-engine plane at about 14,000 feet, the Press reported.

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley told the Johnson City Press a Tennessee Highway Patrol Helicopter pilot spotted the crash site from the air, and a ground crew of searchers then reached the area. The single-engine, four-seat plane broke into several pieces on impact, Hensley said.

Source:  http://www.heraldtimesonline.com


William S. "Bill" Gibbons Jr. 


UPDATE: 4:35 p.m.: A National Transportation Safety Board inspector said Saturday afternoon it would take six months to a year to determine why a small plane crashed Friday night on Buffalo Mountain south of Johnson City, killing both people on board. 

“Right now, we’re not looking at how or why it went down,” Shawn Etcher, an NTSB air safety inspector, said at a command post established at the base of the Buffalo Mountain ATV Trail on Dry Creek Road before going to the crash site. “We’re looking at gathering the facts so we can look at everything and get a full picture.”

Earlier Saturday, the NTSB gave local authorities the go ahead to photograph the site and remove the bodies of the pilot and his passenger.  A forensic team from East Tennessee State University’s Jenkins Forensic Center departed the command scene at around 12:40 p.m. today to survey the site.

Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal said EMS trucks and all-terrain vehicles would take the team as far up the mountain as possible, but they would have to hike the rest of the way in to reach the Ramsey Creek area where the plane crashed.

The Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office initially had led the investigation, but officials determined overnight that the crash site was actually on the Washington County side of the mountain. Emergency workers blazed a trail to the downed plane Saturday morning through the wooded area on the side of the mountain using ATVs to assess the wreckage.

Graybeal did not release the identities of the two killed in the crash, saying federal authorities had been called in to investigate. Washington County EMS personnel were cleared by the authorities to photograph the scene and remove the occupants’ bodies.

According to FlightAware.com, the small plane was registered to to William S. Gibbons Jr., of Bloomington, Indiana, the flight’s destination from Knoxville when it set out last night. Etcher confirmed that the plane had departed Knoxville and was en route to Bloomington when it crashed.

The plane went down around 7:15 p.m. Friday beyond the Pinnacle Fire Tower trail south of Johnson City. According to emergency radio communications, traffic controllers at Tri-Cities Regional Airport lost contact with the pilot of a single-engine plane at about 14,000 feet.

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said a Tennessee Highway Patrol Helicopter pilot spotted the crash site from the air, and a ground crew of searchers then reached the area. Authorities said a break in the weather allowed pilot Mike Musick a brief window to search through the clouds and fog, and he spotted fires burning near the wreckage.

The Columbia LC41-550FG plane broke into several pieces on impact, Hensley said.

Witnesses responded to inquiries on our Facebook page, describing a red-sky effect immediately after the plane descended.

“It was right at dark we heard it then saw it go down behind the mountain and the sky went red and we heard a boom,” posted Rachael Tipton Howell. “Looked like a small plane.

”It all happened so fast, and I was kind of in shock of what we were seeing.”

Howell later posted: “I heard the plane and as I looked up I saw it coming down fast it went in behind Buffalo Mountain where the Pinnacle Fire Tower is in Unicoi and then the sky went red and we heard a boom.”

She witnessed the crash from Unicoi Elementary School near her residence.

“I was at the Unicoi elementary school playground with my kids next to our house,” she posted. “My husband heard the boom from inside our home.”

Another witness reported seeing the crash from his yard on Marbleton Road in Unicoi.

“I heard a very unusual sound that my husband said sounded like an airplane engine struggling,” Kathy Branan Bullen Heath posted. “We looked up, and I could see airplane lights through the thick clouds.

”They were traveling along the highway toward Erwin then made a sharp turn to the right and then down. They disappeared behind the mountain followed by a loud boom. That was followed by a huge orange glow in the sky that outlined the mountain ridge. My call went on to 911 at 7:19.“



UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: A Federal Aviation Administration investigator has arrived at the command center at the base of Buffalo Mountain around to probe the site where a plane crashed, killing the pilot and a passenger, on the mountain Friday night southwest of Johnson City.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigator was expected soon.

———

 UPDATE 1 p.m.: A forensic team departed the command scene at the base of Buffalo Mountain around 12:40 p.m. today to survey the site where a plane crashed, killing the pilot and a passenger, on the mountain Friday night southwest of Johnson City.

Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal said EMS trucks and all-terrain vehicles would take the team from East Tennessee State University’s Jenkins Forensic Center as far up the mountain as possible, but they would have to hike the rest of the way in to reach the Ramsey Creek area where the plane crashed.

He estimated it would take about an hour for the team to reach the debris and the bodies.

The Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office initially had led the investigation, but officials determined overnight that the crash site was actually on the Washington County side of the mountain. Emergency workers blazed a trail to the downed plane Saturday morning through the wooded area on the side of the mountain using ATVs to assess the wreckage.

Graybeal did not release the identities of the two killed in the crash, saying federal authorities had been called in to investigate. Washington County EMS personnel were cleared by the authorities to photograph the scene and remove the occupants’ bodies.

According to FlightAware.com, the small plane was registered to to William S. Gibbons Jr., of Bloomington, Indiana, the flight’s destination from Knoxville when it set out last night.

Washington County EMS personnel and county deputies are staged at a command post at the Buffalo Mountain ATV trail entrance on Dry Creek Road awaiting the arrival of a Federal Aviation Administration investigator. A National Transportation Safety Board investigator also was due in from Washington later Saturday afternoon.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters reported this morning that the Lancair COL4 aircraft was heading to Bloomington, Indiana, from Knoxville when it crashed.

The plane went down around 7:15 p.m. Friday beyond the Pinnacle Fire Tower trail southwest of Johnson City. According to emergency radio communications, traffic controllers at Tri-Cities Regional Airport lost contact with the pilot of a single-engine plane at about 14,000 feet.

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said a Tennessee Highway Patrol Helicopter pilot spotted the crash site from the air, and a ground crew of searchers then reached the area. Authorities said a break in the weather allowed pilot Mike Musick a brief window to search through the clouds and fog, and he spotted fires burning near the wreckage.

The single-engine, four-seat plane broke into several pieces on impact, Hensley said.

Witnesses responded to inquiries on our Facebook page, describing a red-sky effect immediately after the plane descended.

“It was right at dark we heard it then saw it go down behind the mountain and the sky went red and we heard a boom,” posted Rachael Tipton Howell. “Looked like a small plane.

”It all happened so fast, and I was kind of in shock of what we were seeing.”

Howell later posted: “I heard the plane and as I looked up I saw it coming down fast it went in behind Buffalo Mountain where the Pinnacle Fire Tower is in Unicoi and then the sky went red and we heard a boom.”

She witnessed the crash from Unicoi Elementary School near her residence.

“I was at the Unicoi elementary school playground with my kids next to our house,” she posted. “My husband heard the boom from inside our home.”

Another witness reported seeing the crash from his yard on Marbleton Road in Unicoi.

“I heard a very unusual sound that my husband said sounded like an airplane engine struggling,” Kathy Branan Bullen Heath posted. “We looked up, and I could see airplane lights through the thick clouds.

”They were traveling along the highway toward Erwin then made a sharp turn to the right and then down. They disappeared behind the mountain followed by a loud boom. That was followed by a huge orange glow in the sky that outlined the mountain ridge. My call went on to 911 at 7:19.“

Searchers headed up the Pinnacle Trail on all-terrain vehicles, as a command center had been established at the Unicoi Tourism Center at Exit 32 off Interstate 26. Radio communications indicated that the search was concentrated on the Johnson City side of the Pinnacle Trail area north of Unicoi.






UPDATE 10:20 a.m.: Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal said both people aboard a Lancair COL4 airplane that crashed last night on Buffalo Mountain in the Ramsey Creek area are dead.

Witnesses to the crash at 7:15 p.m. Friday reported hearing the craft’s single engine struggling before seeing an orange glow in the cloudy night sky.

Emergency workers blazed a trail to the downed plane Saturday morning through the wooded area on the side of the mountain using all-terrain vehicles to assess the wreckage.

Graybeal did not release the identities of the two killed in the crash, saying federal authorities had been called in to investigate. Washington County EMS personnel were cleared by the authorities to photograph the scene and remove the occupants’ bodies.

According to FlightAware.com, the small plane was registered to to William S. Gibbons Jr., of Bloomington, Indiana, the flight’s destination from Knoxville when it set out last night.

Washington County EMS personnel and county deputies are staged at a command post at the Buffalo Mountain ATV trail entrance on Dry Creek Road awaiting the arrival of Federal Aviation Administration investigators, due to arrive shortly after 11 a.m.




UPDATE 9:15 a.m.: Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal and deputies have gone to the crash investigation scene on Buffalo Mountain today, as authorities have determined that the plane went down in Washington County.

Local authorities are expected to release information regarding the two people who were aboard the small plane when it went down on Buffalo Mountain near the Unicoi County line south of Johnson City on Friday night.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters reported this morning that the Lancair COL4 aircraft was heading to Bloomington, Indiana, from Knoxville when it crashed.

Graybeal had set up a command post on Dry Creek Road and was awaiting the arrival of federal authorities.

The plane went down around 7:15 p.m. Friday beyond the Pinnacle Fire Tower trail southwest of Johnson City. According to emergency radio communications, traffic controllers at Tri-Cities Regional Airport lost contact with the pilot of a single-engine plane at about 14,000 feet.

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said late Friday searchers were coping with rough terrain in efforts to survey the scene of the crash and had suspended recovery efforts until daybreak.

Hensley said a Tennessee Highway Patrol Helicopter pilot spotted the plane and a debris field from the air, and a ground crew of searchers then reached the crash site.

The single-engine, four-seat plane broke into several pieces on impact, Hensley said.

Hensley did not confirm whether there survivors or casualties from the crash.

Witnesses responded to inquiries on our Facebook page, describing a red-sky effect immediately after the plane descended.

“It was right at dark we heard it then saw it go down behind the mountain and the sky went red and we heard a boom,” posted Rachael Tipton Howell. “Looked like a small plane.

”It all happened so fast, and I was kind of in shock of what we were seeing.”

Howell later posted: “I heard the plane and as I looked up I saw it coming down fast it went in behind Buffalo Mountain where the Pinnacle Fire Tower is in Unicoi and then the sky went red and we heard a boom.”

She witnessed the crash from Unicoi Elementary School near her residence.

“I was at the Unicoi elementary school playground with my kids next to our house,” she posted. “My husband heard the boom from inside our home.”

Another witness reported seeing the crash from his yard on Marbleton Road in Unicoi.

“I heard a very unusual sound that my husband said sounded like an airplane engine struggling,” Kathy Branan Bullen Heath posted. “We looked up, and I could see airplane lights through the thick clouds.

”They were traveling along the highway toward Erwin then made a sharp turn to the right and then down. They disappeared behind the mountain followed by a loud boom. That was followed by a huge orange glow in the sky that outlined the mountain ridge. My call went on to 911 at 7:19.“

Searchers headed up the Pinnacle Trail on all-terrain vehicles, as a command center had been established at the Unicoi Tourism Center at Exit 32 off Interstate 26. Radio communications indicated that the search was concentrated on the Johnson City side of the Pinnacle Trail area north of Unicoi.






UPDATE 8:50 a.m.: Two people were aboard a small plane that crashed on Buffalo Mountain south of Johnson City near the Washington County-Unicoi County line, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters reported this morning that the Lancair COL4 aircraft was heading to Bloomington, Indiana, from Knoxville when it crashed.

He said local authorities would  release the names and conditions of the two people on board.

“The FAA will then release the aircraft registration,” Peters said in an emailed statement. “The FAA will investigate.”

The plane went down around 7:20 p.m. beyond the Pinnacle Fire Tower trail southwest of Johnson City. According to emergency radio communications, traffic controllers at Tri-Cities Regional Airport lost contact with the pilot of a single-engine plane at about 14,000 feet.

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said late Friday searchers were coping with rough terrain in efforts to survey the scene of the crash and had suspended recovery efforts until daybreak.

The sheriff said a Tennessee Highway Patrol Helicopter pilot spotted the plane and a debris field from the air, and a ground crew of searchers then reached the crash site.

The single-engine, four-seat plane broke into several pieces on impact, Hensley said.

The sheriff did not confirm whether there survivors or casualties from the crash.





Reported around midnight last night:

Authorities reported about 11:50 p.m. Friday that searchers had found a small plane crashed on Buffalo Mountain south of Johnson City near the Washington County-Unicoi County line.

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said searchers were coping with rough terrain in efforts to survey the scene of the crash.

The sheriff said a Tennessee Highway Patrol Helicopter pilot spotted the plane and a debris field from the air, and a ground crew of searchers then reached the crash site.

Hensley offered thanks to THP pilot Mark Musick for his efforts in the search.

“I want to commend the Highway Patrol officer who flew the helicopter,” Hensley said. “He flew in inclement weather really looking for those people.

”I can’t say enough about him.“

The single-engine, four-seat plane broke into several pieces on impact, Hensley said.

Ground crews had secured the scene until daybreak, when the investigation will continue with the Federal Aviation Administration, he said.

The sheriff did not confirm whether there survivors or casualties from the crash.

He said the investigation would continue on Saturday morning, including a determination whether the crash site is in Washington or Unicoi county.

The plane went down around 7:20 p.m. beyond the Pinnacle Fire Tower trail southwest of Johnson City. According to emergency radio communications, traffic controllers at Tri-Cities Regional Airport lost contact with the pilot of a single-engine plane at about 14,000 feet.

Witnesses responded to inquiries on our Facebook page, describing a red-sky effect immediately after the plane descended.

“It was right at dark we heard it then saw it go down behind the mountain and the sky went red and we heard a boom,” posted Rachael Tipton Howell. “Looked like a small plane.

”It all happened so fast, and I was kind of in shock of what we were seeing.”

Howell later posted: “I heard the plane and as I looked up I saw it coming down fast it went in behind Buffalo Mountain where the Pinnacle Fire Tower is in Unicoi and then the sky went red and we heard a boom.”

She witnessed the crash from Unicoi Elementary School near her residence.

“I was at the Unicoi elementary school playground with my kids next to our house,” she posted. “My husband heard the boom from inside our home.”

Another witness reported seeing the crash from his yard on Marbleton Road in Unicoi.

“I heard a very unusual sound that my husband said sounded like an airplane engine struggling,” Kathy Branan Bullen Heath posted. “We looked up, and I could see airplane lights through the thick clouds.

”They were traveling along the highway toward Erwin then made a sharp turn to the right and then down. They disappeared behind the mountain followed by a loud boom. That was followed by a huge orange glow in the sky that outlined the mountain ridge. My call went on to 911 at 7:19.“

Searchers headed up the Pinnacle Trail on all-terrain vehicles, as a command center had been established at the Unicoi Tourism Center at Exit 32 off Interstate 26. Radio communications indicated that the search was concentrated on the Johnson City side of the Pinnacle Trail area north of Unicoi.

Searchers had gone up the Pinnacle about two miles from Unicoi toward the fire tower, while others were traveling up the Buffalo Mountain trail from the Johnson City side. Two hunters reported seeing the plane go down from the Pinnacle tower area and were reportedly searching with flashlights.

The search was concentrated in area known as White Oak Flats.





UPDATE: Authorities reported about 11:45 that searchers had found a debris field on Buffalo Mountain amid the search for downed plane in the Pinnacle Trail area south of Johnson City.

No word on casualties.
———
UNICOI — A plane crashed on Buffalo Mountain on Friday evening, causing what one witness described as a red sky over Unicoi.

The crash was reported about 7:25 p.m. near the town, apparently beyond the Pinnacle Fire Tower. Emergency management officials had set up a command center at the Unicoi Tourism Center, and the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office had blocked the road into the area.

According to emergency radio communications, traffic controllers at Tri-Cities Regional Airport lost contact with the pilot of a single-engine plane at about 14,000 feet.

Sheriff Mike Hensley said about 10:15 p.m. the search for the four-seater plane was ongoing and deputies had not found anything. He was unsure how many people were aboard.

Hensley said he had contacted Sheriff Ed Graybeal in neighboring Washington County, as well as all local fire departments. The U.S. Forest Service and the Tennessee Highway Patrol were on the scene, as well. The THP had sent out a helicopter early in the search, but the weather prosed problems, grounding it for awhile.

The helicopter was soon back in the air searching a 5-mile radius.

About 10:45 p.m., authorities spotted what may have been several small fires in the search area.

Authorities also pulled all-terrain vehicles behind a truck and headed out from the command center. Radio communications indicated that the search was concentrated on the Johnson City side of the Pinnacle Trail area north of Unicoi.

Searchers had gone up the Pinnacle about two miles from Unicoi toward the fire tower, while others were traveling up the Buffalo Mountain trail from the Johnson City side. Two hunters reported seeing the plane go down from the Pinnacle tower area and were reportedly searching with flashlights.

The search was concentrated in area known as White Oak Flats.

Source:  http://www.johnsoncitypress.com