Thursday, October 15, 2015

Aviat A-1C-200 Husky, N280TB, CirrusSR22th LLC: Fatal accident occurred October 15, 2015 in Swan Valley, Bonneville County, Idaho

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA013
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 15, 2015 in Swan Valley, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/31/2017
Aircraft: AVIAT A-1C-200, registration: N280TB
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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 airline transport pilot, and one passenger, were conducting a formation pleasure/sightseeing flight with another airplane in mountainous terrain. The pilot of the second airplane, who was flying in trail behind the accident airplane, stated that the two airplanes flew into a canyon area. As they approached a ridgeline, the second pilot performed a 360° climbing turn to gain altitude prior to crossing the ridgeline. After he completed his turn, he noticed a dust cloud on the ground ahead of him, and realized that the lead airplane had impacted terrain. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions of failures that would have precluded normal operation. The density altitude about the time of the accident was over 10,990 ft.

Data recovered from the airplane's avionics system indicated that the engine was producing full power throughout the 24-minute flight. Before impact, the airplane's airspeed decreased to between 48 and 50 knots. The airplane's published stall speed was between 46 and 55 knots, depending on the airplane's configuration. Signatures at the accident site and the damage to the airplane indicated a near-vertical impact, consistent with an aerodynamic stall. The passenger reported that, before impact, the airplane was in a turn, and that she heard a beeping sound, consistent with activation of the aural stall warning. 

Despite the fact that the airplane's engine was producing full power, the high density altitude conditions would have degraded the engine's performance and the airplane's ability to climb. It is likely that, as the pilot was maneuvering the airplane in an attempt to climb over the rising terrain, he allowed the airspeed to decay and the airplane exceeded its critical angle of attack and subsequently experienced an aerodynamic stall.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed while maneuvering in high density altitude conditions over mountainous terrain, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall.

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake, Utah
Aviat Aircraft Inc.; Afton, Wyoming 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

CirrusSR22th LLC:

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA013 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 15, 2015 in Swan Valley, ID
Aircraft: AVIAT A-1C-200, registration: N280TB
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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 15, 2015, about 1707 mountain daylight time, an Aviat Aircraft Incorporated, Husky A-1C-200, N280TB, sustained substantial damage when it impacted mountainous terrain about 13 miles east of Swan Valley, Idaho. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured and the passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which departed Alpine Airport (46U) Alpine, Wyoming, about 1646.

During the flight, the accident airplane flew in loose formation with another airplane of the same type. According to the pilot of the second airplane, the pilots had planned to fly over a reservoir and dam, then climb to a higher elevation, to view a few remote lakes; however, the actual routing of the flight was not discussed. The pilot of the second airplane stated that after completing the flight around the reservoir, both airplanes climbed, with the accident airplane in the lead position. As they approached a ridgeline, he radioed the accident pilot and stated that he was going to perform a 360° climbing turn to gain altitude before crossing the ridgeline, and the accident pilot acknowledged. As he completed the turn, he noted a dust cloud near the ground and realized that the lead airplane had impacted terrain. He circled the area, to assist in notifying authorities of the accident and to assist with the recovery effort.

The accident airplane was equipped with an electronic engine display which recorded data on a compact flash card. The recorded times on the card are from a user set parameter, therefore all times from the card are referenced to the user set time and not to mountain daylight time. The data revealed that the accident flight was about 24 minutes in duration and departed at 17:46. Engine power increased to a maximum of 2,670 rpm during takeoff and remained constant about that setting for the duration of the flight. The final minute of data; initially showed the airplane at an airspeed of 76 knots, at a climb rate of 742 feet per minute (FPM). The data then showed a continuous, gradual loss of airspeed and large variations in the airplane's climb rate. During the last 5 seconds of recorded data, the airspeed was between 48 and 50 knots, and the climb rate varied between 7 and 610 fpm. The data stopped recording at 18:06:53 at an indicated pressure altitude of 8,587 ft.

The rear seat passenger in the accident airplane, stated that before impact, the airplane was in a turn, the engine sounded normal, and that she heard a steady, beeping sound.


The pilot, age 43, held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multi-engine land, single-engine land, and a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single engine, multi-engine, and instrument airplane. The pilot was issued an FAA first-class airman medical certificate on April 02, 2015, with no limitations. The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate application that he had accumulated 9,500 total hours of flight experience, and had accumulated a total of 400 hours within the preceding 180 days. 


The two-seat, high-wing, fixed-gear airplane, was manufactured in 2015. It was powered by a 200-horsepower Lycoming IO-360-A1D6 reciprocating engine. The engine was also equipped with a Hartzell model HC-C2YR-1N, constant speed propeller. 

The airframe and engine logbooks were not located during the investigation. The airplane's weight and balance was determined to be within operating limits during the accident flight.

The airplane's flight manual stated that the stall speed is 50 knots at 0° bank, 54 knots at 30° bank, and 60 knots at 45° bank. With 30° of flaps extended, the stall speed is 46 knots at 0° bank, 50 knots at 30° bank, and 55 knots at 45° bank. The Aviat Aircraft Instructions for Continued Airworthiness stated that the airplane's stall warning detector should register a stall at 53 mph. The stall warning consists of a steady audible tone.

The airplane's flight manual also stated that at 10,000 ft, the best angle of climb is 61 knots and the best rate of climb is 59 knots. 

Given the atmospheric and airplane loading conditions the day of the accident, the airplane's maximum climb would have been about 400 fpm. The airplane's service ceiling was 17,500 ft mean sea level (msl). 


The 1651 recorded weather observation at Jackson Hole Airport, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, located about 25 miles northeast of the accident site, reported calm wind, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 20 Celsius, dew point -1 Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.31 inches of mercury. 

Weather modeling for the area of the accident site indicated a horizontal wind speed of 6 knots or less and the vertical wind speed less than 400 ft per minute. Additionally, no significant weather advisories were active or forecast at the time of the accident. 

Given the atmospheric conditions present at the time of the accident, the density altitude at the accident site was about 10,992 ft.


Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted terrain at an elevation of about 8,800 ft. The airplane was located near a ridgeline near the top of the summit. Debris remained within about 50 ft of the main wreckage. The first identified point of contact (FIPC) was an area of disturbed dirt that measured about 1 foot in length, 8 inches wide, and 6 inches deep, located to the west of the main wreckage. About 10 feet from the FIPC was another area of disturbed dirt, co-located with one of the propeller blades.

The fuselage came to rest upright on a heading about 4° magnetic, about 50 ft from the FIPC. The wings remained partially attached to the main fuselage. Flight control continuity was established to the empennage. All major structural components of the airplane were located at the accident site. Fuel was observed leaking from a perforation in the left wing, and the right wing fuel quantity sight gauge displayed 1/8 full.

The left wing was partially attached and orientated about perpendicular to the fuselage. The outer portion of the left wing was crushed. Horizontal scratches were observed on the leading edge of the wing. The wing tip was relatively intact except for the leading edge. The left wing forward strut was bent upward about mid span and the outer strut was bent downward about the mid span. The left aileron and flap were attached at all their respective points. The flap appeared to be extended. 

The right wing was partially attached and the inboard half leading edge was crushed upwards, aligning it about perpendicular to the fuselage. The outboard half sustained impact damage at mid-span and sustained crush damage. Half of the wing was twisted back and facing the opposite direction. The forward right wing strut was bent upwards about a foot from the wing attach point. The aileron and flap were partially attached. The flap appeared to be extended. 

The main cabin area sustained impact damage. The front and top portions of the windscreen were shattered and the side portion of the fuselage was wrinkled. Some of the support structure on the left side of the fuselage and in front of the cockpit control column, were cut away by the medical and recovery personnel.

The engine was angled about 45° to the right from the main fuselage. Both propellers blades had separated but were located at the accident site. 

The empennage was relatively intact. The rudder and elevators remained attached. Only the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator sustained impact damage.

Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.


The Bonneville County Coroner's Office, Idaho Falls, Idaho, conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was "blunt force trauma."

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the pilot. Testing was negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and tested for drugs.


A FAA Safety Publication on Density Altitude (Adapted from Pamphlet P-8740-2):

"The important thing to understand is that density altitude is an indicator of aircraft performance. The term comes from the fact that the density of the air decreases with altitude. A high density altitude means that air density is reduced, which has an adverse impact on aircraft performance." Consequently, an increased density altitude, results in a reduced rate of climb.

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA013
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 15, 2015 in Swan Valley, ID
Aircraft: AVIAT A-1C-200, registration: N280TB
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 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 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 15, 2015, about 1646 mountain daylight time, an Aviat Aircraft Incorporated, Husky A-1C-200 airplane, N280TB, sustained substantial damage when it impacted mountainous terrain about 15 miles east of Swan Valley, Idaho. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The Air Transport pilot was fatally injured and the passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The local, personal flight departed Alpine Airport, Alpine, Wyoming about 1630.

According to the pilot of a second airplane, who was flying behind the accident airplane as a formation flight; they flew over the Palisades reservoir and then climbed up and flew into the Little Creek Canyon area. As the accident airplane approached a ridgeline, the pilot radioed that he was going to perform a 360 left turn, in order to climb, prior to crossing the ridgeline. After completing about 270 degrees of the turn, the number two airplane spotted an area of dust on the ground below. Subsequently, the pilot confirmed that the disturbance on the ground was the lead airplane's wreckage. The second airplane circled the area, to assist in notifying authorities of the accident.

Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board, investigator-in-charge, revealed that all the major components of the airplane were located at the main wreckage site. 

The airplane was recovered to a secure facility for further examination.

Travis Hamilton and his daughter Anabeth

Obituary for Travis Matthew Hamilton 
Travis Matthew Hamilton, 43, of Edmond, OK, left this life on October 15, in Idaho, doing what he loved, which was flying. He leaves behind his loving wife Beth, daughters Paige and Anabeth, son Matthew, parents Dennis and Yvonne Albers of Columbia, SC, Thomas and Debbie Hamilton, of Oklahoma City, OK, and sister, Heather Royal of Highlands Ranch, CO.

Travis was born on September 13, 1972 in Clinton, OK. He showed his ambition at an early age, becoming an Eagle Scout at the age of 15 and he stayed active in the Boy Scouts with his son, Matthew. He graduated from Putnam City North High School and from Northeastern State University. After a successful career in the Army, Investment Banking and Private Equity fields, Travis founded Group d’Avia to assist aircraft purchasers in acquisition. A former Captain for Republic Airways, Travis loved to fly and was a very accomplished pilot, most recently flying a G550 for Priester Aviation. He was an active member of the OKC Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO).

Travis was rarely seen without a smile on his face. Many friends loved to live vicariously through his frequent world travels and exciting adventures. He had a generous heart and would do anything to help his countless friends. Travis may have been taken too soon but what a life he led while between Heaven and Earth! His family and friends are left to treasure his life, as it inspired many to live their dreams as Travis chased his. Let us look forward to the day we can soar with Travis again.

A service celebrating his life will be held on Saturday, October 24 at 1:30 p.m. at Henderson Hills Baptist Church, where the family are members. A come-and-go visitation and reception will be held on Friday, October 23 from 6-8 p.m. at Crawford Family Funeral Service, Edmond.

- Source:

Search and rescue crews with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office recovered the body of the Oklahoma pilot flying the plane when it crashed.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the plane went down east of the Palisades Reservoir in the Swan Valley area of Sheep Mountain.

Investigators say the pilot and his 14 year old daughter had taken off from the airport in Alpine, Wyoming and planned to do some sight seeing.

Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Jeff Edwards tells KPVI that crews met at the Palisades Dam on Friday morning to recover the pilot’s body.  The Sheriff’s Office contracted with a private helicopter to get into the area of the crash.

Edwards says the wreckage of a Aviat A-1C-200 Husky was found in steep mountainous terrain.

A Life Flight helicopter air lifted the 14 year old girl out of the area on Thursday night and took her to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center where she is in good condition.

Sergeant Edwards says it will be up to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Board to find out why the plane crashed.

Sgt. Jeff Edwards with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office  says that the terrain where the plane crashed was very treturous and steep and the plane had been flying in a very steep mountainous area and they didn’t get above the mountain.

“You know in this point in the process the local law enforcement does not investigate plane crashes.  What we do is deal with those immediate life risk issues.  We take photographs and then we secure the scene.  This afternoon, FAA and NTSB will actually respond to do the investigation portion of that,” says Sgt. Jeff Edwards, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office released the name of the pilot late this afternoon.  He was 43 year old Travis M. Hamilton of Edmond Oklahoma.

The teen girl’s name has not been released. 

According to FAA’s registry, the plane was brand new, manufactured just this year and only registered in July.

- Source:

UPDATE: The pilot has been identified as Travis M. Hamilton, 43 years old, of Edmond Oklahoma.

On October 15 at 5:25 p.m. Bonneville County back country deputies were dispatched to an airplane accident east of Palisades Reservoir near Sheep Mountain. Deputies requested Life Flight which was in the back country area on another call to respond. Idaho Falls Fire, Swan Valley Fire, and Bonneville County Search and Rescue responded.

Life Flight was able to locate the crash. They confirmed that the pilot was deceased in the plane. They transported a 14 year old girl to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. She is in good condition. Due to the steep mountainous area, we were not able to go to the crash site last night.

The airplane, a Aviat A-1C-200 Husky, took off from the airport in Alpine Wyoming. The pilot that passed away was the father of the 14 year old girl. They live in Oklahoma.

This morning the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office contracted with a helicopter to get us into the area. We were able to recover the body of the pilot.

Local first responders do not investigate airplanes crashes. We generally deal with life-saving issues first, and then secure the scene for investigators. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will come to our area to begin an investigation later today.

- Source:

SWAN VALLEY — An Oklahoma man was killed and his 14-year-old daughter is in good condition after the small plane they were in crashed in a remote area near Palisades Reservoir late Thursday, Oct. 15.

The Aviat A-1C-200 plane went down around 5:15 p.m. about two miles east of Palisades near Sheep Mountain, according to Bonneville County Sheriff Sgt. Jeff Edwards.

Edwards say friends of the victims were in another plane and took off from an airport in Alpine, Wyoming at the same time. The friends witnessed the plane crash and called for help.

The teenage girl was able to leave the plane after the crash, according to Edwards, but her father was killed on impact. Because of the remote area, crews were unable to recover his body until Friday morning.

A Life Flight crew was in the area when the plane crashed and responded within minutes. They transported the 14-year-old to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls where she was listed in good condition Friday morning, Edwards said.

The dense forest near the crash site has created challenges for investigators.

“There’s basically only three ways in – on foot, horseback, or helicopter,” Edwards said. “The plane is still there and will be for a while.”

Investigators from the FAA and National Traffic Safety Board are expected to respond to the crash Friday afternoon.

- Source:

Great Lakes’ replacement in Sheridan, Wyoming, details flight plans

SHERIDAN – The airline set to fill the service hole left when Cheyenne-based Great Lakes Aviation made its final departure from Sheridan in March opened up on the details of its plan Thursday.

Community leaders in Sheridan floundered to find a replacement for the struggling Great Lakes for months before they were able to negotiate a $2.8 million revenue guarantee contract with Key Lime Air to begin in November. In early September, leaders said the service would start Nov. 19, a date affirmed today by Key Lime Air, which will operate as Denver Air Connections in Sheridan.

“Sheridan represents an exciting opportunity for Denver Air Connection,” said Key Lime President Cliff Honeycutt. “I believe the community will value Key Lime’s operational reliability, customer service and low fares.”

Prior to Great Lakes’ failure at the airport, reliability had been filled with birdshot as the company failed to make ends meet with smaller planes that had been stripped to nine seats to skirt recent federal pilot training regulations.

Going into the start of 2015, Sheridan County Airport Manager John Stopka said the airport was running 80 percent fewer passengers than normal. “There’s no amount of money that can make those profitable for Great Lakes,” Stopka said, adding that the airline wouldn’t ask for the money even if it could.

The community leaders responsible for landing Key Lime Air flights said in Key Lime’s release they were excited to see the company flying into town.

“We anticipate Denver Air Connection’s service will provide tremendous economic value for Sheridan and the surrounding region,” said Bruce Garber, community representative of the Critical Air Service Team that negotiated the contract. The group was made up of “community-wide stakeholders.”

Denver Air Connection will connect Denver with Sheridan twice a day on a 30-seat Dornier 328jet. Below is the planned schedule beginning Nov. 19:

Monday-Saturday: Depart Sheridan for Denver at 8 a.m.
Daily: Depart Sheridan for Denver at 2:10 p.m.
Daily: Depart Denver for Sheridan at 10:50 a.m.
Sunday-Friday: Depart Denver for Sheridan at 7:30 p.m.


Palm Beach cracks down on drones • Questions arise over who controls airspace

PALM BEACH, Fla. —As the popularity of drones grows, Palm Beach police are working to keep them off the island in order to protect the privacy of residents.

Some have started to question if the town has legal jurisdiction over airspace.

"There's an ignorance going on of the technology and a fear going on of invasion of privacy," Jonathan Rupprecht, an attorney specializing in drone law, said. "There's an issue there because this just goes back to constitutional law. Who actually controls the airspace?"

Police are using an old town ordinance that restricts aircraft from taking off, landing or flying below 1,000 feet on the island.

Reef Rescue, a grassroots volunteer conservation group, uses drones to keep a eye on coral reefs and dredging projects. Police were called on them in January as they recorded a beach renourishment project.

"Two cars and three police officers, they came over and told us to land it," Reef Rescue representative Ed Tichenor said. "They were polite about it, but I had never heard of that ordinance before. I heard that it's an ordinance from the 1980s meant for the paparazzi."

Earlier in 2015, a police lieutenant proposed an ordinance specifically for drones, stating they could be used by thieves to case properties or invade privacy.

It's only a draft, but the early version of the ordinance would allow for limited drone use requiring a permit from the town. A town committee will start ironing out the details and discussing the ordinance in November.

Under the current aircraft ordinance, first-time offenders can be fined $250, and they can be fined $500 for a second violation. Currently, Palm Beach police said that no one has been cited.

Palm Beach isn't alone. States, cities, towns and even homeowner associations have been drafting and implementing ordinances to crack down on drones.

"It's an issue that's going to have to go to the Supreme Court and have to be answered sometime shortly," Rupprecht said.


Maule M-7-260C, N288BC: Accident occurred June 24, 2020 in Yellow Pine, Valley County -and- Accident occurred October 14, 2015 in Grace, Caribou County, Idaho

NTSB Identification: WPR20CA198
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 24, 2020 in Yellow Pine, ID
Aircraft: Maule M7, registration: N288BC

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Grace, ID
Accident Number: GAA16CA015
Date & Time: 10/14/2015, 1830 MDT
Registration: N288BC
Aircraft: MAULE M 7-260C
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Nose over/nose down
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that he landed in a field that had numerous gopher holes and mounds. During the landing roll, the main landing gear encountered a soft spot in the terrain and the airplane nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing strut, rudder, and horizontal stabilizer.

The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's selection of unsuitable terrain for landing, which resulted in a nose over.


Personnel issues
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Soft surface - Effect on operation (Cause)
Soft surface - Effect on equipment (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-landing roll
Off-field or emergency landing
Nose over/nose down (Defining event) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 78, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/10/2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/14/2014
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 26000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 80 hours (Total, this make and model), 26000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 30 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MAULE
Registration: N288BC
Model/Series: M 7-260C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 30045C
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/06/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 82 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-V4A5D
Registered Owner: TTP LLC
Rated Power: 260 hp
Operator: TTP LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLGU, 4454 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 41 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2351 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 189°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:Calm / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 0°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Wayan, ID
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Niter, ID
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1800 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 42.461389, -111.703889 (est)

A Preston man escaped injury when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed in Caribou County on Wednesday evening.

Dennis Bennett, 78, was in the process of landing a Maule M-7-260C around 6:50 p.m. on a private airstrip 10 miles southeast of Grace when the plane hit a soft patch of ground. This caused the nose of the plane to smash into the stubble field runway, and the momentum caused the aircraft to then flip onto its roof, according to the Caribou County Sheriff’s Office.

The plane was a total loss in the crash, but Bennett was able to walk away unscathed. He was the only person aboard the aircraft.

Authorities said Bennett had taken off from the airstrip earlier in the day for a flight over the Wayan and Grays Lake areas and was returning when the accident occurred.

The crash remains under investigation by the Caribou County Sheriff’s Office, National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration.

The plane was owned by TTP LLC of Grace; Bennett flies for the company.

Caribou County Chief Deputy Adam Mabey said Bennett is “extremely lucky” to have escaped injury.


Integra Optics: Latham, Albany County, New York

Interior designer Diane Meyer and Integra Optics founder David Prescott post alongside the Pilatus PC-12 Prescott keeps in his office space.

David Prescott, founder of Integra Optics, is fascinated by airplanes – flying them, collecting them, admiring them. So even though his business making components for the telecommunications industry doesn’t involve airplanes, Integra Optics and IntegraLED are located in a hangar at the Albany International Airport (KALB), New York. Check out the story here.

For Skyqueen Enterprises, aviation is a 24/7 affair

Millie Hernandez-Becker

Millie Hernandez-Becker has an office in a far corner of Westchester County Airport removed from the commercial traffic and hubbub of the main terminal. A sales and marketing specialist and consultant in private aviation, she works from the office of one of her clients, Houston-based Million Air, a fixed base operator serving private travelers and aircraft from Hangar M at the county airport.

The remote location of the airport’s corporate and privately operated hangars on Tower Road was by design, Hernandez-Becker said in an interview with the Business Journal, to keep wealthy Westchester plane owners out of the public eye. That maintenance of customers’ privacy, along with the aircraft they own or charter, continues today. “Discretion is a key ingredient here,” she said.

The owner of Skyqueen Enterprises, a one-woman company she launched in 2004, Hernandez-Becker describes herself as “a hired gun” for the general aviation industry. She consults with individuals and companies shopping for planes or fractional ownership of one, arranges charter flights and works with business clients to develop their sales and marketing and, as she does for Million Air, to boost their market share of airport fuel sales. “I also like to put people together,” she said, connecting clients in need of capital or an architect, contractor or attorney.

For airplane purchases, “I can make sure that people are making good decisions and they are aware of the consequences of the decisions they’re making. If you don’t know enough, you can really get hurt in this business. I’m insurance that you don’t get hurt at this kind of purchase.”

“Right now business is very good,” she said. “In the past five months, I have three clients who are purchasing airplanes. They’re first-time buyers” acquiring private planes for the businesses they own, she said.

It’s a buyer’s market at airports. A used Hawker 850, for example, a popular eight-seat charter jet, sells for about $4 million. “That airplane used to sell for $12 million to $16 million,” Hernandez-Becker said.

The Great Recession sent values of used airplanes into a tailspin from which they have not recovered.

“There was a correction right after the recession,” she said. “All airplane values have dropped dramatically. Those airplanes that are still out there, they’re going to remain low. They’re not going to come back up. They’re not like a house.”

Working with both business and leisure travelers, “I’ve taken board members to visit factories in the Caribbean, in India, in China, and I’ve also flown people to Nantucket” for vacations, she said.

“I’ve flown Hillary Clinton when she was senator,” said Hernandez-Becker, whose discretion in business keeps her from dropping any more names of the VIPs and celebrities who have used her services. Her corporate clients include Flex Jet, Aircraft Services Group, Goldman Sachs and The Carlyle Group.

“I don’t work for everybody. I have the luxury of being able to choose who I work for. Companies that I work for are special.”

“To work with Goldman Sachs, The Carlyle Group, these great financial minds, it’s very valuable for me to be at the table. Typically I’m the only woman at the table,” she said.

“I love this business. Aviation is very infectious. It’s very much a culture.

“We are a community that is very driven by excellence, by procedures, by the 24/7 culture. You’re on call all the time. It’s very exciting.”

The daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants who operated a chain of bodegas and later a medallion taxi business in Manhattan, Hernandez-Becker caught the aviation infection as a 22-year-old first-grade teacher in the New York City school system. She took a summer job at LaGuardia Airport as a reservations agent with New York Air. It led her to abandon one fledgling career for another, more exciting one.

She learned the industry at a series of jobs as ticket agent, flight attendant and an airline terminal manager at LaGuardia. In 1986, she joined Westchester Air, a former charter flight company at the county airport. The boss who recruited her and Westchester Air’s founder, David M. Becker, became her husband four years later.

A pilot, Becker was killed in a plane crash in 1994, leaving Hernandez- Becker to continue their 22-employee business on her own.

“I always say business requires passion, planning and a partner,” she said. “He was my partner. Not only did I suffer a loss personally, but I suffered a loss in the business.”

She continued to run Westchester Air until 2003, when she sold the company to Jet Equity, a private equity firm in Greenwich, and joined the new owner as a partner and vice president of marketing and sales for Skyport, the fixed base operator Jet Equity acquired at the Westchester airport. She continued in that marketing role when Landmark Aviation acquired Skyport about two years later.

Hernandez-Becker remarried about four years after her husband’s fatal accident and was raising a son from that marriage while running the aviation business. Their boy was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months old.

“That is something that you’re never prepared for,” Hernandez-Becker said. “It required an intense amount of focus, attention and commitment. …I had to be his CEO; I couldn’t be the CEO of Westchester Air. So I sold it. I made a choice.”

“It took me 2½ years” to close a deal. “You just don’t sell a company overnight.”

Hernandez-Becker launched Skyqueen Enterprises in the transition from her nearly two decades at Westchester Air. “I wanted to establish myself as a brand and as an entity,” she said. Working from her family’s home in Pound Ridge, “I started very small.”

In a career journey that has spanned more than 30 years, “Aviation has taken me places I never would have gone if I had stayed where I was as a school teacher,” Hernandez-Becker said. And that 24/7 journey continues.

“I enjoy what I do, so it’s easy for me. It’s part of who I am. It’s really a part of my makeup,” she said.

“Stay tuned,” the owner of Skyqueen Enterprises advised. “This is an industry that is growing. The problem that we’re having is that the infrastructure at these airports is not keeping up with the new aircraft.”

Immersed in that growing industry, “I think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be,” said Hernandez-Becker. “I think it’s pretty nice to be able to say that.”


Evergreen Space Museum and the Wings & Waves Waterpark up for sheriff's sale

Yamhill County Sheriff Tim Svenson has confirmed receipt of a writ of execution from Yamhill County Circuit Court for sale of the Evergreen Space Museum and the Wings & Waves Waterpark in a Nov. 30 foreclosure auction on the courthouse steps.

However, museum officials said Monday they remain hopeful of heading it off.

The writ was issued in response to a court finding that the owner of the properties, the nonprofit Michael King Smith Foundation, is past due on $1.9 million in debt to their builder, Portland’s Hoffman Construction.

Hoffman filed a foreclosure suit against the foundation last year. It prevailed, but agreed to set the judgment aside pending attempts to negotiate an acceptable out-of-court settlement.

In August, Hoffman sought and obtained reinstatement of the judgment because settlement talks had not borne fruit. The next step, already ordered by the sheriff, is publication of a set of legal notices advertising the sale.

Appraisals suggest that on paper at least, the buildings carry values running into the tens of millions. And to a much greater extent than the museum, the water park would appear to hold potential for operation as a commercial venture.

The Michael King Smith Foundation is governed by a three-member-board consisting of attorney Jay Goffman, head of corporate restructuring for New York’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, one of the largest law firms in the world; certified public accountant Lisa Anderson, president of Evergreen Vintage Aircraft, which previously owned some of the planes displayed at the space museum’s air museum twin; and Jimmy Ray, personal representative of the estate of late Evergreen corporate and museum founder Del E. Smith. In addition to owing the construction company almost $2 million, the foundation reportedly owes Goffman’s 2,000-member law firm some $5 million.

On Monday, Goffman released a statement saying, “We are aware of the action and we are working with all parties to try to resolve this matter consensually. The Michael King Smith Foundation intends to preserve its assets for the best interests of the entire community. We are dedicated to the long term future of McMinnville and we are confident that, with everyone’s effort, a positive solution can be achieved for all.”

A settlement would head off the foreclosure sale. So would a bankruptcy filing, at least for the time being, if not permanently.

Over the span of several decades, Smith built a fledgling helicopter company into a global aviation goliath under the banner of Evergreen International Aviation. From its base in McMinnville, the corporation came to include international air transport, helicopter services, ground logistics, agricultural and airplane storage and repair arms.

He subsequently founded the Evergreen Aviation Museum. Over the ensuing years, he added the space museum and water park, along with a theater, chapel and other elements.   

The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum operating entity leases its web of land and buildings from a variety of owners.

Since the collapse of Evergreen International Airlines and most of its subsidiaries in 2013-14, and Smith’s subsequent death, the museum has struggled. That’s partly because the entities that own its buildings, and many of its exhibits, are mired in debt.

It has managed to resolve a number of outstanding issues, but more keep cropping up.

Last summer, Evergreen Vintage Aircraft, which owned the aviation museum, about two-dozen of its planes and the adjacent theater at the time, filed for bankruptcy to hold off an Umpqua Bank foreclosure action based on debt approaching $42 million. 

The bank settled for $20.5 million in June. As part of the deal, Yamhill County settled a back taxes claim of $1.2 million.

A private party purchased the two buildings and agreed to lease them back for continued museum operations on highly favorable terms. That provided the money used to pay the creditors.

However, the foundation-owned space museum and water park buildings had been put up for collateral with Hoffman Construction, Smith’s general contractor of choice on all of the buildings in the complex. The foundation still owes Hoffman almost $2 million, and months of talks have failed to produce a deal settling that debt.

As things stand, the foundation also owes the county almost $1.25 million in back taxes on the two properties. County Assessor Scott Maytubby did not return e-mails and a phone call by deadline, but records appear to show that all but $11,800 of it is due on the water park element.

The foundation and county are locked in a tax court battle over the county’s claim, the foundation pressing a claim for an educational exemption and the county resisting. The case was heard in September, but the court is not expected to render a decision any time soon.


In July, the Michael King Smith Foundation finally settled a longstanding debt with the Aero Club of Southern California on its centerpiece aviation museum exhibit, the massive wooden airplane known as the Spruce Goose.

In September, Evergreen Vintage Aircraft apparently came to terms with its third major creditor, World Fuel Inc. However, it has yet to file final papers to that effect in federal court.

Smith put up EVA holdings for collateral against fuel orders to keep his global fleet in operation, running up about $9 million in debt.

World Fuel’s claim had been set for trial Nov. 9. In late September, the judge canceled the trial in anticipation of the filing of a stipulated judgment by the parties, stemming from out-of-court talks.


Ercoupe 415-C, N2076H: Fatal accident occurred January 20, 2014 in Poulsbo, Washington 

NTSB Identification: WPR14LA100
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 20, 2014 in Poulsbo, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/08/2015
Aircraft: ERCOUPE 415 C, registration: N2076H
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

During the approach for an attempted forced landing into a clearing, the airplane struck trees and then collided with the ground in a nose-down attitude. The pilot sustained serious injuries during the impact but was able to call 911 on his cell phone. He subsequently died from complications related to his injuries about 2 weeks later. Postaccident examination revealed that the engine oil filler cap had not been secured. The oil filler neck and cap were intact and undamaged. Due to the engine’s design, the engine oil filler cap was located at a low point on the engine; therefore, failure to secure the cap would have resulted in a rapid expulsion of engine oil and a subsequent engine seizure. Engine examination found damage consistent with oil exhaustion and engine seizure, and the aft section of the engine compartment was coated with oil, which extended out of the cowling and onto the airplane’s belly. The pilot was operating without a valid medical certificate; the Federal Aviation Administration had denied his medical application 3 years before the accident due to a diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome. Although no evidence was found indicating that this medical condition was casual to the accident, it likely contributed to the pilot’s death because it hindered his recovery from otherwise nonlife-threatening injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to confirm that the engine oil filler cap was secured before flight, which resulted in oil exhaustion and a subsequent total loss of engine power during cruise flight.


On January 20, 2014, about 1540 Pacific standard time, an Ercoupe 415 C, N2076H, collided with trees near Poulsbo, Washington, following a loss of engine power. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the commercial pilot/owner under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The pilot died 16 days later due to complications from injuries incurred during the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage and both wings. The local flight departed Auburn Municipal Airport, Auburn, Washington, about 1440. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The Kitsap County Central Communications Center received a 911 call from the pilot about 1545, stating that he had been involved in an airplane accident. Emergency response personnel responded to the accident site, and located the pilot, who was seated outside and adjacent to the airplane. Due to the nature of his injuries, he could not recall the circumstances of the accident, and reported only that he had left Auburn earlier in the day.

The airplane came to rest inverted, and was located at the edge of a clearing, bound by 50-foot-tall trees. It sustained crush damage to the upper fuselage from the firewall through to the aft cabin. The right wing remained attached to the fuselage; the left wing sustained leading edge crush damage and was folded aft about 45 degrees. The airplane's belly was coated in a layer of brown-colored oil that extended from the louvered lower lip of the engine cowling, through to the tailcone.

Examination revealed that the combination engine oil filler cap/dipstick was not installed in the filler neck. The cap was subsequently located loose within the engine compartment, against the cowling. The cap appeared undamaged, with both its gasket and locking tabs in place. The filler neck remained attached to the engine sump, and its locking lugs were intact. The aft section of the engine compartment was coated in oil, which continued along the lower firewall, and out of the left side of the cowling and onto the airplane's belly. The oil coating was in an area that was obscured from the pilot's view while in flight.


The 70-year-old-pilot held a certified flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in August 2008, with limitations that he must have glasses available for near vision.

No personal flight records were located for the pilot; however, at the time of his last medical application he reported a total flight experience of 1,837 hours with 28 logged in the last 6 months.


FAA Medical History

The pilot first obtained a third-class aviation medical certificate in 1964, and routinely renewed it in the second or third class with the only limitation being the need to wear corrective lenses. In 1998 he reported a diagnosis of hypertension, which was being treated with blood pressure medication. Subsequent to that, the Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), who was also the pilot's treating physician, issued him a third-class medical certificate, which was confirmed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The pilot continued to report his hypertension and its treatment, and continued to receive third-class medical certificates.

In 2006 and 2008, the pilot reported additional medications for the treatment of high cholesterol, and was awarded a third-class medical certificate on both occasions.

In August 2010, the pilot applied for another third-class medical certificate and continued to report hypertension. In addition, he reported "low platelet count, no symptoms"; the AME noted the low platelet count was the result of myelodysplastic syndrome and deferred the certification decision to the FAA. In September 2010, the FAA asked for additional information regarding the condition, along with records regarding the diagnosis and care. The pilot was referred to a hematologist and further testing was performed. After it assessed the results, the FAA, in October 2010, denied the pilot a medical certificate because of his myelodysplastic syndrome and low platelet count.

The FAA medical certification file contained a letter from the pilot to the FAA requesting reconsideration. In the letter, the pilot stated "Although I have flight instructor and commercial pilots licenses, I no longer give any instruction and of course since I am requesting a third-class medical, I do no commercial flying. I have over 1,800 hours and own part of a Beechcraft Bonanza, which I only fly for the pleasure of it." He went on to say, "I have no symptoms of anything wrong with me. I exercise daily and eat a balanced diet. If not for the blood tests I would consider myself to be the picture of health."

The pilot included a letter from his hematology/oncologist that described his condition and stated that the pilot "should be competent as a recreational pilot."

The FAA responded on November 22, 2010, that the pilot's request for reconsideration was denied, and asked that if the pilot again requested a reconsideration he supply evidence that his platelet count had improved. There were no further documents in the FAA medical certification file.

Postaccident Hospital Admission

Following the accident, the pilot was transported by helicopter to a nearby Level I Trauma Center. There he was diagnosed with pulmonary contusions and multiple rib fractures. He quickly developed worsening shortness of breath and was placed on a ventilator in the emergency department. Over the next 2 weeks, his bone marrow function worsened and transfusions of multiple types of blood products were required. He developed acute respiratory distress syndrome, his kidneys failed, and he had multiple infections. He died 16 days after the accident.


Toxicology testing was performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) on blood obtained from the pilot during the first portion of his hospital stay. Results identified Amlodipine, Midazolam, and Ondansetron in blood. According to the emergency department medical records, Midazolam and Ondansetron were administered as part of the pilot's initial resuscitation efforts. According to CAMI, Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker heart medication used in the treatment of hypertension.


Engine Examination

The four-cylinder normally aspirated engine was manufactured by Continental Engines. It was equipped with a 4-quart oil sump located at the bottom of the crankcase. The oil filler neck protruded from the sump to a level just below the cylinder heads.

The engine was examined and disassembled by an Aircraft Mechanic following recovery. The mechanic reported that the engine had completely seized, and exhibited damage consistent with oil exhaustion. He found fragments of metallic components in the crankcase, and reported that the camshaft, along with the connecting rod for cylinder No.1, had failed.

GPS Receiver

The airplane was equipped with a Garmin GPSMap 295 GPS receiver. The unit was not damaged, and contained track data for the entire flight leading to the accident. The data revealed that the airplane departed Auburn Airport and flew directly west across Commencement Bay, just north of Tacoma. It then turned to the north, climbed to 2,300 ft msl, and flew directly to Jefferson County International Airport, Port Townsend, Washington. The pilot performed a touch-and-go landing at 1521, and on climbout initiated a left turn to the south towards Poulsbo. The airplane reached Poulsbo at 1538, and then began to descend from 1,759 ft, and reached an altitude of 876 ft about 80 seconds later. Over the next 30 seconds, the airplane made a descending 180-degree left turn to the last recorded position, at an elevation of 374 ft.

The airplane was located at an elevation of 374 ft, just north of the last recorded track position. The airplane struck the top of trees prior to reaching the clearing.


POULSBO — An investigation into a Poulsbo plane crash last year revealed the engine seized from lack of oil, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The pilot, Kent Curtiss, 70, died Feb. 7, 2014, from injures sustained in the Jan. 20 crash that was on Noll Road.

The results of the safety board investigation released last month said the engine oil cap had not been secured, causing a “rapid expulsion of engine oil” because of its low placement on the engine. The aft section of the engine compartment, cowling and airplane belly were coated in oil, while the oil filler neck and cap were undamaged.

The board also found engine damage “consistent with oil exhaustion and engine seizure."

Kent O. Curtiss

Kent O. Curtiss August 1, 1943 - February 7, 2014 

Kent O. Curtiss, 70, of Kent, Washington, passed away peacefully with loved ones by his side on February 7th, 2014. Kent was born in Edmore, Michigan, August 1, 1943 to Glenn and Lucie Curtiss and lived his early life in Winn, Michigan. 

 As a young man, Kent enjoyed playing hockey with the Winn Rockets. He also played football and baseball at Shepherd High School and went on to play a year of college football at Central Michigan University. He graduated from CMU with a degree in Math and Physics.

Kent met Diana (Stricker from Laurel, Montana) while serving in the Air Force at Rapid City, South Dakota and they were married in 1967.

Kent and Diana lived in Michigan where their daughter was born, then moved to Minnesota where their son was born. The family moved to Oklahoma before moving to Renton/Kent area where they have lived since 1978. Kent was a Computer Systems Analyst at Boeing until his retirement in 2000.

In 1963, Kent received his single engine private pilot license and began his lifelong passion for flying. In the 1970’s he went on to earn his single engine commercial and flight instructor ratings and in the 1980’s his instrument rating. Wherever he lived, he became a member of an airplane partnership. His family and friends enjoyed many cross country adventures with Kent. Highlights included his flights to Cayman Islands, Alaska and Oshkosh with close pilot friends. His skill was admired.

Kent enjoyed flying, genealogy, family vacations to Florida, Michigan and Montana, providing tours for visiting family, sports, debating politics and telling stories. Kent is survived by his wife Diana, daughter Julie Johnas (Craig), grandson Jayden Johnas, son Steven (Elizabeth), granddaughter Reina and step-granddaughter Isabelle. He is preceded in death by his brother, Thomas. Kent is survived by his sister, Mary Ruth Williamson and brother, Leland (Harriet).

He had a generous spirit, kind nature and huge heart. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.