Monday, May 30, 2016

American Champion 7GCBC, N80RK: Accident occurred May 29, 2016 in Warner, Merrimack County, New Hampshire

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Portland FSDO-65

NTSB Identification: ERA16CA197
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 29, 2016 in Warner, NH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2016
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

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

The pilot reported that he was conducting a local sightseeing flight in visual meteorological conditions when the airplane inadvertently entered instrument meteorological conditions. While maneuvering, he lost visual reference with the ground. The airplane entered a steep descending turn, and collided trees. Both wings separated from the airframe and the fuselage was crushed. Weather conditions reported at an airport that was located about 17 nautical miles from the accident site, included, overcast clouds at 1,100 feet above ground level. The elevation of the accident site was about 1,700 feet mean sea level. The pilot reported that he experienced no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
An encounter with instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in the pilot's spatial disorientation and a loss of airplane control.

The pilot who crashed his two-seat plane in the Mink Hills in Warner on Sunday is still recovering from his injuries at Concord Hospital and is in “fair condition,” according to a hospital spokeswoman.

A woman who was also in the plane has not been identified, but she suffered less severe injuries than the pilot, Warner fire Chief Ed Raymond said. She was also taken to Concord Hospital on Sunday night.

The pilot has been identified as David Ralph of Great Barrington, Mass. Ralph is a certified private pilot who kept his plane at Canaan Airport in North Canaan, Conn., near the Massachusetts-Connecticut border.

A mechanic at the airport, who declined to share his full name, said Ralph often flew into New Hampshire and had been gone for “a week or more.” Ralph’s American Champion Aircraft has two seats in a line with the pilot sitting in the front.

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration were at the crash site Monday, Raymond said. The state’s forestry department is working to remove the wreckage from the Harriman Chandler State Forest.

“The only way they will get that out is with a helicopter,” Raymond said.

The plane crashed nearly a mile deep into the woods in the area of Cunningham Pond Road on Sunday about 8:30 p.m. More than 70 first responders from several area towns were on scene. A line of nearly 60 firefighters passed Ralph and the passenger on stretchers from the wreckage and into two ambulances.

Raymond said the woman “did an excellent job” taking care of Ralph while waiting for help. When Warner firefighters found the crash site, the woman had laid out a blanket and was giving Ralph first aid.

“They were getting ready to spend the night if they didn’t hear from anyone,” Raymond said. “It’s not the White Mountains, but it can be treacherous at times.”

One of the Warner firefighters cleared a path to the site with a chainsaw. Raymond said the crash was up a steep hill, about 500 feet above the staging area.

The plane had broken into several pieces with one of its wings caught in a tree 30 feet above the ground.

“It’s the most amazing thing to see what they went through. I’m telling you,” Raymond said. “It’s impressive they’re alive. It really is.”

Dr. David Hirsch, Concord Hospital’s EMS medical director, hiked to the site with fire and rescue crews Sunday night, according to a Facebook post by the hospital. Hirsch provided an advanced trauma assessment, pain medication and accompanied Ralph by ambulance to the hospital.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating what caused the plane to crash.

WARNER, N.H. —Two people aboard a plane when it crashed in Warner Sunday night survived.

Rescuers had to hike about 1 mile to reach the crash site. Officials said it took 50 firefighters hours to hike up steep terrain into the Harriman Chandler State Forest and back out with the victims. Nightfall made the trip more difficult.

The plane was found in pieces, with the contents of the cockpit scattered and a wing still hanging from a tree.

Officials said a husband and wife were on board.

The fire chief said their injuries were non-life-threatening.

The chief said it appears the pilot, identified as David Ralph, was trying to return to Concord Municipal Airport when the crash happened.

The victims called 911.

Neighbors heard the crash and also called police.

"So, I looked out the window, didn't see it, but I kept hearing it," Deb Moore said of the plane. "It circled around like three times. Then it made a funny noise and then it completely went silent."

Federal investigators are working to determine what brought the plane down.

A man and a woman are recovering in Concord Hospital after their two-person plane crashed in the Mink Hills in Warner on Sunday night.

Warner fire Chief Ed Raymond said the couple sustained injuries that are not life threatening. He added the victims are talking and are “in good spirits.”

“They are very, very lucky to have lived through something like that,” Raymond said.

Fire and rescue personnel responded to a call about 8:30 p.m. It took the pair of victims about an hour to find a cell phone in the plane and call for help, Raymond said. With the help of GPS, firefighters were able to find the area of the crash and hear the victims yell back to them.

The plane crashed in the Harriman Chandler State Forest, about eight-tenths of a mile from where emergency responders could park their vehicles. It took 56 firefighters to safely relay the victims out of the woods and into ambulances. Raymond said the terrain was very rocky, and the crash site was about 500 feet uphill from the emergency vehicles.

“They’re extremely lucky, especially with the weather coming in right now,” Raymond said. “It’s getting pretty foggy up there.”

The plane crashed into heavy trees and broke into several pieces, Raymond said. One of the wings was caught in a tree about 30 feet above the ground, he said.

Raymond said the American Champion Aircraft was flying over Warner when the couple lost control while trying to turn around and fly back to Concord Municipal Airport. Their identities have not been released.

In all, between 65 and 70 firefighters responded to the call, Raymond said. Warner received support from several nearby departments, including Grafton, Sutton, Contoocook, Webster, Salisbury, Henniker, Hillsboro, Bradford and Concord. 

“They did a great job,” Raymond said. “I couldn’t ask for a better team.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

Original article can be found here:

WARNER, N.H. —Emergency officials say a small plane crashed into the woods near Stewarts Peak in Warner Sunday evening.

The Federal Aviation Administration says an American Champion plane with two people on board crashed. The Warner Fire Chief, Ed Raymond, told News 9 that a husband and wife were injured. Their names have not been released.

Raymond said the couple was able to use a cell phone to call for help but that it took about an hour to make the call because they couldn't find the phone after the crash. As rescue crews approached the crash site, using GPS locators, they were able to hear the couple yelling.

Raymond said it appeared the couple had turned around to return to the airport in Concord due to weather conditions when the plane went down in the Harriman Chandler State Forest.

Raymond said the plane is about eight tenths of a mile from the nearest road and the terrain is very rocky. Both people on board survived but sustained injuries that required them to be carried out of the woods. Raymond said that effort required more than 50 firefighters.

Raymond said the couple was very lucky to live through the crash. He also said that the plane broke apart and that part of it was still stuck about 30 feet up a tree.

Investigators from the NTSB will determine a likely cause for the crash. It is not clear when or how the wreckage will be removed.

Story and video: 

CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) — A man and woman rescued after their small plane crashed into the side of a mountain in New Hampshire Sunday night are recovering and reportedly in good spirits, according to the Warner, N.H. fire chief.

The American Champion aircraft crashed in the Chandler Reservation near Stewart’s Peak around 8 p.m. Sunday.

The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that one of the two people involved in the crash used their cell phone to call 911, and authorities were able to use GPS to guide rescuers to the crash.

Warner Fire Chief Ed Raymond said the challenging search-and-rescue operation involved a group of 52 people, who had to navigate heavy terrain uphill to find the two victims and help carry them out. The two are now recovering in a hospital in Concord, N.H.

“They were both in good spirits,” said Chief Raymond said. “One was hurt more than the other, but I don’t think there are any life-threatening injuries at this time.”

Federal investigators were trying to determine the cause of the crash Monday. Bad weather is believed to have played a part.

Story and video:

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