Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cessna 421B Golden Eagle, N33FA, S D Management Inc: Fatal accident occurred October 14, 2015 near Hammond Northshore Regional Airport (KHDC), Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana

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

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

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

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Baton Rouge FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA013
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 14, 2015 in Hammond, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/17/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 421B, registration: N33FA
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.

The twin-engine airplane, flown by a commercial pilot, was departing on a business flight from runway 31 when the right engine lost power. According to a pilot-rated witness, the airplane was about halfway down the 6,500 ft runway at an altitude of about 100 ft above ground level when he heard a "loud pop" and then saw the airplane's right propeller slow. The witness reported that the airplane yawed to the right and then began a right turn toward runway 18 with the right engine's propeller windmilling. The witness further reported that the airplane cleared a tree line by about 150 ft, rolled right, descended straight down to ground impact, and burst into flames.

Postaccident examination of the airplane's right engine revealed that the crankshaft was fractured adjacent to the No. 2 main bearing, which had rotated. The crankcase halves adjacent to the No. 2 main bearing were fretted where the case through-studs were located. The fretting of the mating surfaces was consistent with insufficient clamping force due to insufficient torque of the through-stud nuts. Records indicated that all six cylinders on the right engine had been replaced at the airplane's most recent annual inspection 8 months before the accident. In order to replace the cylinders, the through-stud nuts had to be removed as they also served to hold down the cylinders. It is likely that when the cylinders were replaced, the through-stud nuts were not properly torqued, which, over time, allowed the case halves to move and led to the bearing spinning and the crankshaft fracturing. 

During the accident sequence, the pilot made a right turn in an attempt to return to the airport and did not feather the failed (right) engine's propeller, allowing it to windmill, thereby creating excessive drag. It is likely that the pilot allowed the airspeed to decay below the minimum required for the airplane to remain controllable, which combined with his failure to feather the failed engine's propeller and the turn in the direction of the failed engine resulted in a loss of airplane control. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The loss of right engine power on takeoff due to maintenance personnel's failure to properly tighten the crankcase through-studs during cylinder replacement, which resulted in crankshaft fracture. Also causal were the pilot's failure to feather the propeller on the right engine and his failure to maintain control of the twin-engine airplane while maneuvering to return to the airport.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 14, 2015, about 1542 central daylight time, a Cessna 421B airplane, N33FA, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following a loss of right engine power during initial climb after takeoff. The airplane was departing the Hammond Northshore Regional Airport (HDC), Hammond, Louisiana, on runway 31, when the accident occurred. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to SD Management, Inc., Lafayette, Louisiana, and operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight was originating from HDC at the time of the accident and the intended destination was the Hartsfield - Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Atlanta, Georgia.

A witness, who was an airline transport rated pilot, reported seeing the accident airplane take off on runway 31 at HDC. When the airplane was about 3,500 ft down the 6,500 ft runway at an altitude of 100 feet above ground level (agl), the witness heard a "loud pop" followed by slowing of the airplane's right engine and right propeller. The airplane then yawed to the right. The witness then saw the airplane begin a right turn toward runway 18. At this time the right engine's propeller was still windmilling. The airplane cleared the tree line by about 150 ft and then rolled and descended straight down into the field north of runway 18. The airplane then exploded and burst into flames.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION
The pilot, age 47, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land and instrument airplane ratings. He also held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine, and instrument airplane ratings.

The pilot's flight logbook was not recovered during the investigation and was believed to have been consumed by the post-impact fire. A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records showed that on May 13, 2014, the pilot submitted an application for the addition of a Learjet model 60 type rating. On the application, the pilot reported having 1,370 hours total flight experience with 355 hours instruction received, 40 hours solo, 1,090 hours as pilot in command, and 145 hours as second in command. The records further showed that the pilot originally tested for the addition of an airplane multiengine rating on November 9, 1998, which resulted in a notice of disapproval. The areas of operation noted to be deficient were VIII "Slow Flight and Stalls", and IX "Emergency Operations". The pilot was retested on November 18, 1998, which resulted in the successful completion of the practical test and the addition of the airplane multiengine land rating to his certificate. The records showed that in the time between the successful completion of the airplane multiengine land practical test and the accident, the pilot tested for and receive type ratings for MU-300, BE-400, and LR-60 airplanes. No further flight records of the pilot's flight activity were discovered during the investigation.

At the time of the accident the pilot held a second class airman medical certificate, issued on October 23, 2014, with no limitations listed.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION
The airplane was a 1973 Cessna model 421B, serial number 421B0502. It was a seven seat twin engine monoplane of predominately aluminum construction with retractable tricycle landing gear. It was powered by two 435 horsepower Continental GTSIO-520-F-K engines, bearing serial numbers 817562-R and 235065-R.

The airplane maintenance records were kept within the airplane and were mostly consumed in the post-impact fire. Copies of the annual inspection records were obtained from the facility that performed the annual inspection. The inspection was completed on February 1, 2015. The inspection records did not indicate the airframe, engine or propeller total times. The entry for the right engine indicated that all 6 cylinders were replaced with overhauled units at the time of the inspection.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION
The weather conditions recorded at HDC at 1535 were: Calm wind, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 33 degrees Celsius, dew point -1 degree Celsius, altimeter setting 30.03 inches of mercury.

COMMUNICATIONS
The pilot was in communication with ground and tower controllers at HDC prior to the accident. About 153623 (hhmmss), the pilot contacted HDC ground control requesting an IFR clearance to Atlanta. The clearance was issued, and subsequently the pilot requested and was granted taxi clearance to runway 31. About 153931, the pilot advised the HDC tower controller that he was holding short of runway 31 and that he would remain holding short of runway 31 for a moment. Less than one minute later the pilot advised that he was ready for takeoff and a takeoff clearance was issued by the HDC tower controller. About 154039, the pilot advised that the airplane was on the takeoff roll on runway 31. About 154146, the pilot declared an emergency and advised "mayday mayday mayday we gotta come back right away". The controller cleared the airplane for landing on runway 18 and issued the current wind, which was calm. Two more transmissions were received from the accident airplane however the audible portion of the transmissions was unrecognizable.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane impacted a level field about 1,600 ft and 335 degrees from the approach end of runway 18. Most of the airplane was consumed by the post-impact explosion and fire, however, all primary structure and control surfaces were located within the immediate area of the accident site. The airplane came to rest upright, facing in a northerly direction. The upper portion of the fuselage was consumed by fire with extensive fire damage to the cabin interior. The wings came to rest on the ground adjacent to the fuselage in their appropriate positions. Both wings had crush damage consistent with a near vertical impact. Both propellers had separated from the engines and were located within the immediate area of the accident site. The tail surfaces remained attached to a section of the aft fuselage that had separated from the remainder of the fuselage. The landing gear was found in the retracted position. On-site examination of the airplane's control system confirmed control cable continuity from the primary flight controls (ailerons, elevator, and rudder) to the cabin area of the fuselage. Due to the extensive impact and fire damage to the airplane, control continuity to the cockpit controls could not be determined. Both engines and propellers were retained for future examination.

Teardown examination of both engines was conducted at the engine manufacturer's facility. The examination of the left engine did not show any defects that would prevent normal operation.

During disassembly of the right engine it was noted that little torque was required to loosen the nuts on several crankcase through studs. Once the crankcase halves were separated, it was found that the engine crankshaft was fractured adjacent to the No. 2 main bearing. The No. 2 main bearing was spun and the crankcase mating surfaces for the No. 2 bearing through studs exhibited fretting of the mating surfaces, consistent with insufficient torque of the through studs. It was also found that the cylinders of the right engine appeared to be new. The No. 2 bearing through studs also serve to hold down the No. 2 and No. 3 cylinders. In order to remove the cylinders, the nuts were required to be removed from the through studs.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of the pilot was performed by the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner's Office, Hammond, Louisiana, on October 15, 2015. The pilot's death was attributed to injuries received in the accident.

Toxicology testing was performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. Testing results indicated that Diphenhydramine was detected in liver and muscle tissue, and Ibuprofen was detected in liver tissue.

Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine used to treat allergy symptoms and as a sleep aid. It is available over-the-counter under the trade names Benadryl and Unisom. Diphenhydramine carries the following FDA warning: may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery).

Ibuprofen is a non-narcotic medication used to treat pain and fever. It is marketed under many brand names including Motrin

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
According to FAA publication FAA-H-80383-3A, "Airplane Flying Handbook", "In OEI (one engine inoperative) flight at low altitudes and airspeeds such as the initial climb after takeoff, pilots must operate the airplane so as to guard against the three major accident factors: (1) loss of directional control, (2) loss of performance, and (3) loss of flying speed. All have equal potential to be lethal. Loss of flying speed will not be a factor, however, when the airplane is operated with due regard for directional control and performance."

S D MANAGEMENT INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N33FA 

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA013 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 14, 2015 in Hammond, LA
Aircraft: CESSNA 421B, registration: N33FA
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 14, 2015, about 1530 central daylight time, a Cessna 421B airplane, N33FA, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following an apparent loss of engine power during initial climb after takeoff. The airplane was departing the Hammond Northshore Regional Airport (HDC), Hammond, Louisiana, on runway 31, when the accident occurred. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to SD Management, Inc., Lafayette, Louisiana and operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight was originating from HDC at the time of the accident and the intended destination was the Hartsfield - Jackson Atlanta International Airport(ATL), Atlanta, Georgia.

A witness, who was an airline transport rated pilot, reported seeing the accident airplane take off on runway 31 at HDC. When the airplane was about 3,500 feet down the 6,500 foot runway at an altitude of 100 feet above ground level (agl), the witness heard a "loud pop" followed by slowing of the airplane's right engine and right propeller. The airplane then yawed to the right. The witness then saw the airplane begin a right turn toward runway 18. At this time the right engine's propeller was still windmilling. The airplane cleared the tree line by about 150 feet and then rolled and went straight down into the field north of runway 18. The airplane then exploded and burst into flames.

The airplane impacted a level field about 1,600 feet and 335 degrees from the approach end of runway 18. Most of the airplane was consumed by the post-impact explosion and fire, however, all primary structure and control surfaces were located within the immediate area of the accident site. The airplane came to rest upright facing in a northerly direction. The upper portion of the fuselage was consumed by fire with extensive fire damage to the cabin interior. The wings came to rest in on the ground in adjacent to the fuselage in their appropriate positions. Both wings had crush damage consistent with a near vertical impact. Both propellers had separated from the engine and were located within the immediate area of the accident site. The tail surfaces remained attached to a section of the aft fuselage that had separated from the remainder of the fuselage. The landing gear was found in the retracted position and measurements of the flap actuator were performed for future determination of flap position. On-site examination of the airplane's control system confirmed control cable continuity from the primary flight controls (ailerons, elevator, and rudder) to the cabin area of the fuselage. Due to the extensive impact and fire damage to the airplane, control continuity to the cockpit controls could not be determined. Both engines and propellers were retained for future examination.


John Harris, right, a 48-year-old airplane broker from Denham Springs, died in a plane crash at the Hammond Northshore Regional Airport on Wednesday, October 14th.  He is survived by his wife, Pamela Stringfield Harris, also pictured, and three children.



Desmond Milligan is identified as the pilot killed in the plane crash in Hammond. 


HAMMOND — The widow of a Denham Springs man killed in a plane crash at the Hammond airport returned to the site Friday morning to grieve, while her attorney readied a team of investigators to determine what went wrong at takeoff Wednesday afternoon.


G. Scott Vezina, of the Feldman Shepherd law firm in Philadelphia, said the family of passenger John Harris, a 48-year-old aircraft broker, hired the firm after the plane Harris had chartered for a business trip to Atlanta crashed within seconds of leaving the runway.

The pilot, whom KATC-TV said family and friends identified as Desmond Milligan, of Lafayette, also died in the crash.

Vezina said the right engine of the Cessna 421B Golden Eagle plane stalled just as the plane was leaving the ground, which Vezina said is “the worst possible time” to lose an engine.

Two mechanics at the Hammond Air Center, near the intersection of Hammond Northshore Regional Airport’s two runways, heard “a loud pop” when the engine blew and saw the plane nose-dive into the edge of a wooded area near the northwest corner of the airfield, Vezina said.

Pamela Harris, who had dropped her husband off at the airport for his flight, returned to the airfield within minutes of the crash and saw the plane engulfed in flames, Vezina said. One of the couple’s three children was with her.

“Planes like this aren’t supposed to crash. Engines aren’t supposed to stall. And pilots are supposed to know how to safely handle their planes,” Vezina, a licensed pilot, said Friday morning. “It looks like nothing went the way it was supposed to. We’re going to do what’s right by the family and find out why.”

Vezina, who has handled numerous plane crash cases, including that of late recording artist Aaliyah Haughton, said his firm has assembled a team of accident reconstructionists, mechanics and metallurgists to examine evidence from the crash, alongside National Transportation Safety Board investigators.

NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said the attorney’s team would have access to the agency’s reports but not to the physical evidence itself.

Crews disassembled the plane Friday morning for transport off the airfield. Williams said the wreckage will be moved to a secure location for further examination and testing.

The NTSB expects to issue a preliminary report within seven to 10 days of the crash, he said. The final report could take a year to complete.

Vezina said Harris was “a true family man and a great community member.”

“He loved to fly and always said he loved his kids more than air,” Vezina said. “We lost a good one.”

Burial services will be held in Denham Springs next week, pending completion of the Tangipahoa Parish coroner’s work, Vezina said.

A coroner’s official confirmed Friday afternoon that Harris was one of the two crash victims but said paperwork was still pending before the pilot’s identity could be officially confirmed.

A Federal Aviation Administration official reported Thursday that the pilot had declared an emergency just after takeoff and appeared to be trying to return to the airfield when the crash occurred.

Air traffic control recordings indicate the plane, tail number N33FA, was cleared for takeoff headed northwest on the longer of the airport’s two runways, just before 3:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Less than a minute later, the pilot gave the distress call: “Mayday, mayday, mayday. We gotta come back (inaudible).”

The air traffic controller asked the pilot to repeat, and again the pilot called “Mayday, mayday, mayday,” and asked for runway clearance.

“November three (sic) foxtrot alpha, Runway 1-8 wind calm. Clear land,” the controller responded, indicating the shorter runway was open for the plane to make a southbound landing.

The controller had barely finished his response when there was a shout, then silence as the pilot’s audio cut out.

The plane crashed at the edge of a wooded area between the end of one runway and the approach to the other.
The FAA and the NTSB are on scene in Tangipahoa Parish investigating yesterday's fatal plane crash that left the two people on board dead.

Friends and family are identifying the pilot as Desmond Milligan of Lafayette and his passenger John Harris of Denham Springs.

The plane, registered to a Lafayette company, went down yesterday shortly after takeoff. Witnesses said it only reached about 200 feet before nose-diving.

The crash has shaken the tight-knit aviation community in Acadiana, including Milligan's friend and fellow pilot, Brian Blessing. 

Blessing said Milligan had been flying for the past 20 years, but became a full time pilot in the past five or six years and was currently flying private planes for locals. 
      
"You're just kind of numb," Blessing said when asked how he reacted to the news that his friend of 20 years had died. "You're still trying to figure it out and then you just try to go to the family."

Blessing said because of their analytical nature, he and other pilots are trying to understand the logistics of the crash.  He said he was getting calls until 2:00 a.m. from other pilots asking what happened.

Milligan lived with Blessing at his Lafayette home until April of 2015. Both were working as pilots for the 18 months they lived together. 

"We were in and out every day, so we really didn't see each other that much," Blessing said. "A lot of times we would get off of flights and we would say 'What do you think about this situation?' 'What do you think about that situation?' and so we would talk a lot of things out because of his experience level." 

Blessing described Milligan as "studious" and "happy-go-lucky." He said he loved flying and took it very seriously. 

Milligan and Blessing attended simulator based flight schools together in the past and went through emergencies together.  Blessing said his friend was "pretty quick to react." 

"You have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst in everything you do as far as flying," Blessing said. 

Blessing said he spoke with Milligan's family and said they are in shock, but he and other pilots are going to do anything they can to help them.  

"We'll get through all this," Blessing said. "We'll help the family do everything we can to get through this. Then I will allow myself to grieve for however long it takes. I'm not flying till then and once I know and I am absolutely sure I can get in a plane and handle any situation that might come up, then I'll fly again."

Blessing said a group of pilots are planning a memorial to remember their friend and work through what happened. 

The NTSB said the investigation is ongoing into the plane crash. 

Source:  http://www.katc.com


The plane that crashed at a Hammond airport Wednesday afternoon was owned by a Lafayette firm and had taken off to go to Atlanta when problems arose, killing a Denham Springs man and the pilot, officials said Thursday.

At a Thursday press conference, Hammond Mayor Pete Panepinto identified one of the crash victims as John Harris, a broker/manager of aircraft, from Denham Springs. The identification of the pilot has not yet been released. Panepinto said the pilot was a charter pilot who worked for the company Harris had contacted for a business trip to Atlanta.

A Federal Aviation Administration official reported Thursday that the pilot appeared to be trying to return to the runway when problems began.

“My initial information indicated that the aircraft was headed for Atlanta. It had just departed when the pilot declared an emergency and attempted to turn back to the field at Hammond,” said Lynn Lunsford, an FAA spokesman. “The plane crashed in the turn.”

National Transportation Safety Board Senior Air Safety Investigator John Brannen reported Thursday afternoon that the plane was in Hammond to pick up passenger for business trip to Atlanta. Witnesses reported the plane was in a “steep bank, near vertical” when it crashed.

FAA records indicate that the Cessna 421B Golden Eagle into Hammond Wednesday afternoon before taking off for Atlanta. Records also indicate the plane belonged to SD Management Inc. of Lafayette.

The names of the two people killed in the crash will be released once the identification process is complete, Lunsford said.

The Cessna 421B Golden Eagle plane had eight seats, but local officials confirmed Wednesday afternoon that only two people were on board when the crash occurred.

The plane had just taken off about 3:45 p.m. Wednesday and had reached no higher than 200 feet when it “nose-dived” into the ground, said Tangipahoa Parish Coroner Rick Foster. Little remained of the aircraft following the wreck.

“It was a bad crash, and there was a fire,” the coroner said.

Panepinto said Thursday the plane’s departure appeared to be normal until the point of failure.

The Hammond Fire Department, which has a station at the airport, arrived at the crash scene within minutes and extinquished the plane fire and surrounding grass fire. The crash occurred about 300 yards west from an airport runway.

Federal investigators were scheduled to arrive at Hammond Northshore Regional Airport Thursday to investigate.

Brannen said the initial part of the investigation should be done in a week.

Panepinto said the final report could take up to a year to complete.

HAMMOND, LA (WVUE) - Two people were killed Wednesday when a plane crashed near the Hammond North Shore Regional Airport approach around 3:50 p.m., according to the Hammond Police Department.

The two were the only ones aboard the twin-engine Cessna 421. It appeared that the airplane was taking off but encountered some kind of trouble and tried return, according to an FAA spokesperson. When emergency responders reached the scene, the plane was fully engulfed in flames. 

“We do have a station on the airport, it responded right away, it did confirm we had a plane down that was engulfed in fire at the time, our units arrived on scene and started putting the fire out as they were responding,” John Thomas, the Hammond Fire Chief, said.

Thomas said it was unclear if the pilot attempted to call for help.

“The airport tower was aware of the situation, I can't confirm if it was by radio or by line of sight, but I'm sure [the plane] was capable of radio, but whether there was anything transmitted, we don't know,” Thomas said.

The identities of the victims have not been released.

Officials would not release details about the plane's origin or destination. The Federal Aviation Administration is handling the investigation and will release more information Thursday.

The NTSB and a representative from Cessna’s engine manufacturer are expected on the scene Thursday to try and determine what happened before the crash.

Source:  http://www.fox8live.com




Two people were killed when a small plane trying to make it back to the Hammond Northshore Regional Airport crashed into a field near a runway Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 14), authorities said. 

The identities of the victims were not released.

Hammond Fire Chief John Thomas said the plane went down on the northern end of the sprawling airport several hundred yards from runway 18/36. The victims were killed on impact, he said.

Twelve firefighters from a station on the airport property responded to the crash shortly before 4 p.m. and put out the blaze, Thomas said. Thomas said there was a small area strewn with debris.

Few details were available Wednesday night. Hammond officials did not have information on where the plane was headed or who owned it. Thomas said the scene would be turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

An FAA spokesman, Lynn Lunsford, said the plane was a twin-engine Cessna 421 that "experienced trouble shortly after departing'' the airport. The pilot tried to return, but crashed, he said.

Lunsford said FAA investigators are en route. Thomas said investigators from the NTSB also are en route.

"At this time we are asking for prayers for the family and friends of the victims involved and for all of the first responders that arrived here today. Our hearts are heavy as we investigate the events that led this tragic incident,'' Hammond Mayor Pete Panepinto said.

Thomas said the NTSB was expected to release more information on Thursday.

Source: http://www.nola.com



HAMMOND, La. (WGNO) – Two people died when a small plane crashed shortly after taking off from the Hammond Northshore Regional Airport on Wednesday.

Hammond Fire Chief John Thomas said the twin-engine Cessna experienced trouble after departing. 

Authorities believe the plane was attempting to return to the airport when it crashed off Vineyard Road.

Both people on board the plane died.

Thomas said crews were called to the scene around 3:50 p.m.

Investigators have not determined what caused the plane to crash.

“At this time, we are asking for prayers for the family and friends of the victims involved and for all of the first responders that arrived here today.  Our hearts are heavy as we investigate the events that lead to this tragic incident,” Hammond Mayor Pete Panepinto said.

The Hammond Fire Department, Hammond Police Department and members of the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office were initially called to the  scene. Louisiana Department of Forestry cleared trees to help contain the fire.

FAA investigators and the NTSB are en route, and should be in Hammond by Thursday morning, along with the Cessna manufacturer.

An updated press conference is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Source: http://wgno.com












Bücker Bü-133 Jungmeister, N1940J: Fatal accident occurred October 14, 2015 at Missoula International Airport (KMSO), Montana

http://registry.faa.gov/N1940J

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA012
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 14, 2015 in Missoula, MT
Aircraft: BUCKER JUNGMEISTER BU 133, registration: N1940J
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On October 14, 2015, at 1510 mountain daylight time, a Bucker Jungmeister BU 133/C, N1940J, crashed in a parking lot during the takeoff climb out at the Missoula International Airport (MSO), Missoula, Montana. The pilot/owner operated the airplane under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was mostly consumed in the postcrash fire. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that was destined for an undetermined location. No flight plan had been filed.

According to a friend of the previous airplane owner, the airplane had been purchased on October 13.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) responded to the accident site. The airplane was recovered for further examination.

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


Patrick Carter


Investigators are still in the preliminary stages of a plane crash that took place at the Missoula International Airport last Wednesday. National Transportation and Safety Board Investigator Larry Lewis said they have discovered new information about the plane that 52-year-old Patrick Carter was flying. 

“This is an old historic airplane. We are in the process of getting our network together to see if we can reach out and pick up all the pieces that we can ,” Lewis said. “We will start here with the photographs and the videos that we have, the witness statements..It is going to be packaged up and taken to a secure facility away from here so if we have further questions we can go back and look at it again.”

Because the plane was an older model, Lewis said it could be more of a challenge to figure out the initial cause of the crash.

“The hardest part will be the amount of fire damage to it and we find even with aluminum aircraft with massive fire damage, even metal airplanes don’t stand up real well,” Lewis said. “It might hinder us somewhat, but typically we are looking at mechanical issues or control surface issues, those kind of things. We actually have been able to determine a lot of background of a very damaged aircraft. We will be see what we can come up with.”

Larry said an investigation like this could take up to a year because the information NTSB finds has to agree with what records show.




A well-known Alabama pilot who gave up his commercial airline career after the 2001 terrorist attacks was the victim of Wednesday's single-engine plane crash at Missoula International Airport.

Patrick Carter, 52, of Monroeville, Alabama, was killed when his small bi-plane crashed and exploded shortly after take-off.

Carter, who is the husband of Harper Lee's attorney, Tonja Carter, had stopped in Missoula to refuel while traveling from Washington state back home to Alabama.

He was a commercial pilot before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, after which he retired from the airlines and worked as a private pilot. 

On Wednesday, he was flying a WWII-era Bucker Jungmeister BU 133, one of several small planes he flew from the landing strip at his Alabama home.

Shortly after takeoff, the yellow bi-plane made a sharp turn over the Missoula airport parking lot and crashed. Witnesses said it burst into flames about 20 seconds after hitting the ground. 

According to Monroeville journalist Josh Dewberry, Carter was well-known and well-liked in his home state. He and his wife operated a casual fine dining restaurant in Monroeville's square, called The Prop and Gavel.

His wife appeared on the national stage earlier this year as speculation emerged surrounding the release of Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman," which followed the characters in her Pulitzer Prize-winning "To Kill a Mockingbird" later in life.

The cause of Wednesday's crash remains unknown, but National Transportation Safety Board investigator Larry Lewis was at the site Thursday afternoon inspecting the crash.  

"Right at the moment, we are just at the preliminary stages (of the investigation) because this was a transient aircraft and a transient pilot," Lewis said. "We are trying to find the records. We are trying to find the maintenance records of the aircraft (and) the actual ownership records ... plus the FFA is helping us track down the pilot records."

Since the plane was an older model, the NTSB can't rely on the manufacturer to supply information. 

Lewis and other officials are reviewing video surveillance at the airport and speaking with witnesses. It may take up to a year for the NTSB to release the official cause of the fatal crash, he said.   

Missoula International Airport director Cris Jensen said Wednesday's crash was the first fatal crash at the airport in recent memory. He said a Cessna crashed in 2005, but no one on board was killed.

It was fortunate that Carter did not hit the terminal, other planes or cars in the parking lot, Jensen said. But he couldn't speculate on whether the pilot had sufficient control of the plane to intentionally avoid the people and property. 

"I think we are always worried about those type of things, and obviously we were lucky," he said Thursday.

Airport staff practices and prepares for such incidents, he said. Firefighters, law enforcement and the TSA did an excellent job responding to the crash, while other airport employees kept the airport operating and other passengers safe, he explained.

Jensen added that he was grateful for the outside support of the Missoula County Sheriff's Department and Missoula Rural Fire Department.  

"The community needs to know that we are prepared for these types of things, and we practice all the time," he said.  



Patrick Carter, a Monroeville pilot and businessman and husband of Harper Lee's lawyer Tonja Carter, died Wednesday evening in a fiery small-plane crash in Missoula, Montana, authorities there said Thursday morning.

"The Missoula County Coroner has identified the pilot from yesterday's crash at Missoula International Airport as 52-year-old Patrick Carter of Monroeville, Alabama," Brenda Bassett, a spokeswoman for the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, said Thursday morning. "Carter had stopped in Missoula to get fuel, but was traveling from Washington State back home to Alabama."

There were no other people on board the airplane when it crashed and immediately burst into flames at 3:11 p.m. Wednesday, about 10 seconds after taking off from Missoula International Airport, and it was unclear where the plane was headed, The Montana Standard reported.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Missoula County Sheriff's Office (MSCO) both said they are investigating the crash.

"We have a team that is investigating. They should have arrived on the scene today. They are going to be looking at the wreckage. They're going to be looking at the engines," Terry Williams, a spokesman for the NTSB, said Thursday morning. "They're going to be looking at pilot records and maintenance records, those are the very standard parts of an investigation ... So we're just gathering the facts at this point."

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the two agencies will be working together to conduct a thorough investigation.

"An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be at the site today to investigate the cause of the crash," Bassett said. "An MCSO coroner will be working with the State Medical Examiner to complete the coroner's investigation."  

Carter, who often went by the nickname Pat, was flying a bi-plane with only one engine and one seat, according to NBC Montana. The type of plane may have been a factor in the way the crash played out, Stan Cohen, director of the Museum of Mountain Flying in Missoula, told the news station.

"It is wood and steel and fabric, and you crash and it is going to catch on fire," Cohen said. "It is a very fragile airplane."

Missoula resident Jeff Schmerker was locking up his bike in the airport's parking lot when Carter's plane crashed Wednesday evening. He said via phone Thursday morning that "when it crashed it burst into flames almost instantaneously" and that "it didn't seem like you could go save the guy. Every part of the plane was on fire," with flames rising about 10 feet above the wreckage.

"It was a 1920s-style, maybe a replica, yellow biplane. It seemed like a World War I-era plane. It took off going almost straight up - that's what caught my attention - and it was making a really loud, abnormally loud noise when it took off," Schmerker, who was arriving at the airport for a flight to visit his family in Houston, said. 

"Then it turned sharply over the terminal or the parking lot area, and then the engine stopped and it fell almost straight down and crashed on a concrete space."

Carter was also a well-known figure around Monroeville who recently became a member of the board of the Monroe County Heritage Museum and often played guitar and performed other duties at the Carters' Prop and Gavel restaurant in the town center.

News of Pat Carter's death spread quickly throughout Monroeville. Wanda Green, director of the museum, said "we are all in shock" via email Thursday morning. Tom Lomenick, president of the museum's board, also offered his condolences.

"We are all in a state of shock. Pat Carter was an excellent board member. He rarely missed a meeting. He always added a different perspective to any discussion due to his worldly travels. He will be missed. He cannot be replaced. We will try to always ask at any meeting, what would Pat have said," Lomenick said via email Thursday morning.

"He died doing what he loved to do the most, flying. Monroeville lost a great man and asset to this community last night. We are in prayer for Tonja and his family."

Patrick and Tonja Carter married in 1990. Patrick Carter worked for years as a private pilot, operating for much of his career out of the Monroe County Airport for clients including disgraced wealthy pulp mill owner George Landegger.

Pat Carter's father, Jennings Carter, was a cousin of Truman Capote who grew up next-door to Harper and Alice Lee.

Alice Lee befriended Tonja Carter over the years and was instrumental in getting Tonja Carter to attend law school (she received her law degree from the University of Alabama in 2006) and eventually took her under her wing at her law firm, Barnett, Bugg, Lee & Carter, LLC. Tonja Carter went on to become a key attorney for Harper Lee and now has durable power of attorney for the novelist. Tonja Carter achieved a degree of international fame earlier this year as a focal point of the controversy over the release of author Harper Lee's bestselling "Go Set a Watchman."

Patrick Carter is survived by his wife, Tonja, as well as the couple's four children, Patrick, Jacob, Tawny and Erin.

Source: http://www.al.com



Patrick and Tonja Carter own and operate the Prop and Gavel restaurant in downtown Monroeville, Alabama.


MISSOULA — One person is dead after a small, single-engine aircraft crashed on takeoff at Missoula International Airport Wednesday afternoon.

A witness said the plane was airborne for just 10 seconds before plummeting to the ground and exploding.

The plane crashed on the east side of the airport, along the road separating the rental car parking lot and short-term parking, at 3:11 p.m.

There were no other injuries, and no apparent damage to any of the surrounding vehicles.

The name of the deceased has not yet been released and the cause of the crash is under investigation. It's also unknown where the plane was heading or where it originated.

Pilots Fred McDowell and Dick Komberec said they noticed the plane because of the unusual sound the engine was making. They watched the aircraft land, refuel and take off again, but were unaware of the plane's origin or destination.

Jeff Schmerker, who arrived at the airport to catch a flight, saw the small, yellow aircraft take off and crash only about 10 seconds after takeoff. He said he was about 50 yards from where the plane crashed.

He said it was headed west toward Frenchtown when it made a sharp turn over the airport parking lot.

"It almost came straight down," Schmerker said. "It erupted. It seemed like it was covered in cloth because it just vaporized."

Schmerker said he and others attempted to move toward the plane before it burst into flames.

"You could see the structure disintegrate in 20 seconds," he said. "There was nothing there when I started to walk over."

Schmerker explained the plane didn't appear to be on fire in the air. He said the aircraft looked like a replica of an older 1920s model, with a patriotic emblem on the side.

Airport fire engines immediately responded, as flames completely engulfed the craft and emitted a plume of black smoke. Missoula Rural Fire Department firefighters continued to fight hot spots and smother the smoldering remains with foam and water until about 5 p.m.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Department also responded to the area and blocked off a portion of the road. Sheriff's spokeswoman Brenda Bassett said the sheriff's department will assist the National Transportation Safety Board with the investigation and will complete the coroner's report.

Source:  http://mtstandard.com



Missoula County Sheriff's Office Spokeswoman Brenda Bassett says the plane crash that killed a pilot Wednesday happened around 3:30 p.m.

The single engine plane was only occupied by the pilot and crash landed near the Missoula Airport long term parking lot.

No other injuries have been reported. 

It is unknown at this time which direction the plane was headed or what caused the crash.

An independent investigation will be conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Bassett says flights have not been delayed but traffic going through the airport parking lots will be re-routed.

UPDATE: 4:02 p.m.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office says a pilot has been killed in the crash. The MCSO says the pilot was the only person on board.

Emergency personnel are on scene of a plane crash outside the Missoula International Airport Wednesday afternoon. 

MTN News has received several viewer photos showing the wreckage of a small plane outside the airport minutes ago.

Details are scarce at this moment. We have a reporter on the scene and will bring you more details as they arrive.

Source: http://www.kpax.com







Today, 9 am to 5 pm ET: NTSB Forum - Humans and Hardware... Preventing General Aviation Inflight Loss of Control

General Aviation Pilots: Save The Date, Maybe Save Your Life 


By John Goglia

With 253 fatal general aviation accidents in 2014 – up 14% from the prior year – it’s time for private pilots (and those who fly with them) to seriously look at opportunities to keep themselves from becoming a part of a stubborn statistic in aviation: the number of fatalities involving GA pilots.   So here is an offer from the National Transportation Safety Board that no private pilot should refuse.  And that is a forum on the most common type of fatal accident in general aviation: loss of control.  As I’ve written about before, preventing loss of control accidents has been a major focus for the NTSB, the FAA and general aviation groups this year.

The NTSB forum, titled Humans and Hardware: Preventing Inflight Loss of Control in General Aviation, will be held on October 14 from 9 am to 5 pm ET at the NTSB’s headquarters in Washington DC, 429 L’Enfant Plaza, S.W.  The forum is free and open to the public.

If you’re nowhere near Washington DC and don’t plan to be on October 14th, no problem.  The entire forum will be broadcast live on the web at: http:ntsb.capitolconnection.org.  That date and those times inconvenient for you?  No worries.  The webcast will be archived and posted for 90 days for viewing at your leisure.

But view you must.  According to NTSB Member Earl F. Weener, who will preside over the event, “Every GA pilot gets training in loss-of-control events, such as aerodynamic stalls, yet about 40 percent of GA fatal accidents involve loss of control. We want to know what can be done to better address this stubbornly recurrent safety challenge.”

According to the NTSB’s press statement: “Topics addressed will include: an overview of the various types of loss of control accidents, human performance and medical issues, potential training improvements, and technological enhancements that can reduce loss of control accidents. The forum will feature presentations from pilots, instructors, general aviation advocacy groups, the Federal Aviation Administration, and manufacturers of potential technological countermeasures, among others.”

While, of course, it’s up to pilots themselves to take advantage of training such as this, I feel that educated friends and family that fly with them can make a difference by understanding the types of issues that can contribute to loss of control accidents.  Family and friends can be a major source of support in promoting training like this and also in educating themselves on the types of issues that can lead to loss of control – including weather, fatigue, medications and pressure to get home.

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