Friday, May 6, 2016

Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk, N4313E: Fatal accident occurred October 08, 2015 at Pickens County Airport (KJZP), Jasper, Georgia

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

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

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


Registered Owner: Brian K. Godfrey Enterprises Inc


Operator: Asterix Aviation LLC

http://registry.faa.gov/N4313E 


NTSB Identification: ERA16FA005

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 08, 2015 in Jasper, GA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 38-112, registration: N4313E
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 8, 2015, about 1830 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-38-112, N4313E, operated by Asterix Aviation LLC, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain after a loss of engine power in Jasper, Georgia. The student pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local solo instructional flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, which departed from Pickens County Airport (JZP), Jasper, Georgia, about 1720.

According to the student pilot's flight instructor, the student pilot was on his second supervised solo flight. The instructor reported that he saw the student pilot perform the preflight inspection of the airplane and that the student pilot "reported to him" that 14 gallons of fuel were in the airplane. The flight instructor could not recall if he backed the student up by visually checking the fuel quantity himself and could not recall if the student used a fuel stick when checking the quantity.

The flight school's general manager, who was leaving the airport at the time, saw the flight instructor on the ramp using his mobile phone while the student was performing the preflight inspection.

The flight instructor reported that, after takeoff from JZP, the student flew to the practice area and returned to the airport about an hour later. The student then performed a touch-and-go landing on runway 16. During climb after the touch-and-go, the flight instructor heard the engine suddenly stop running. The airplane then "sunk down," and he saw the airplane turn to the left like the student pilot was going to return to the airport. The airplane then appeared to enter an aerodynamic stall and then spin to the left. It descended rapidly while still in the spin until it was lost from view behind trees, and the flight instructor heard the sound of impact.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Student Pilot

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records and pilot records, the student pilot, age 21, held a third-class medical with a student pilot certificate issued on August 24, 2015.

Review of pilot records indicated that he had taken his pre-solo written exam on September 11, 2015. Before the accident flight, he had accumulated 13.5 total hours of flight experience, 1.3 hours of which were in solo flight. His previous supervised solo flight had occurred on September 21, 2015 (17 days before the accident flight). No dual instruction was logged after that date.

Flight Instructor

The flight instructor, age 31, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. He also possessed a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine and instrument airplane. He reported that, during the previous year, he had soloed 10 students, and, at the time of the accident, he had accumulated about 3,400 hours of flight experience, 2,900 of which were as flight instructor.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a 2-seat, single engine, low-wing, fixed-gear monoplane of conventional metal construction. It was equipped with a 4-cylinder, air-cooled, horizontally opposed, normally aspirated, 112-horsepower Lycoming O-235-L2C engine, driving a metal, two-blade Sensenich 72CK-0-56, fixed pitch propeller.

According to FAA airworthiness records and airplane maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1978. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on October 3, 2015. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued about 3,147 total hours of operation.
Review of the airplane's fuel system indicated that fuel was stored in two 16-gallon (15 gallons usable) fuel tanks, giving the airplane a total capacity of 32 gallons (30 gallons usable). The fuel tank selector control was in the center of the engine control quadrant; the selector had three positions: right, left, and off. A fuel quantity gauge for the left fuel tank was located adjacent to the left side of the fuel selector, and a fuel quantity gauge for the right fuel tank was located adjacent to the right side of the fuel selector.

According to the Piper PA-38-112 Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH), during the preflight inspection, the fuel quantity gauges were to be checked, the fuel tank sumps and fuel strainer were to be drained, and the fuel quantity and color were to be visually checked by opening the fuel tank caps and looking inside each of the fuel tanks.
Review of the POH also indicated that:

- At a power setting of 75%, the engine would consume fuel at a rate of 6.5 gallons per hour (gph).
- At a power setting of 65%, the engine would consume fuel at a rate of 5.75 gph.
- At a power setting of 55%, the engine would consume fuel at a rate of 5.0 gph.

Further review of the POH indicated that, at a 65% power setting, endurance would be about 4.5 hours.

Examination of fuel receipts revealed that the airplane had last been refueled on October 5, 2015. Examination of the "Time Sheet" (aircraft flight log) that was recovered from the wreckage indicated that the airplane's recording hour meter read 1,533.0 at the time of the last refueling. The sheet further indicated that the airplane had been flown on four other flights before the accident flight and that, when the accident occurred at an hour meter reading of 1,537.9, the airplane had been operated about 4.9 hours since the last refueling.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The recorded weather at JZP, at 1835, about 5 minutes after the accident, included: calm winds, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 24°C, dew point 12°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.15 inches of mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

JZP was a publicly owned airport, located 2 miles southwest of the central business district of Jasper, Georgia. The field elevation was 1,535 ft, and the airport had one runway oriented in a 16/34 configuration. Runway 16 was asphalt, in good condition, and had a left traffic pattern. The runway was 5,000 ft long and 100 ft wide. It was marked with nonprecision markings in good condition, and the runway gradient was 0.7% uphill. It was equipped with medium intensity runway lights and a 2-light precision approach path indicator, which provided a 3.00° glide path to touchdown.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest in a small, grass-covered, automobile parking area located about 1,687 ft from the departure end of runway 16. All major components of the airplane were identified on site. The initial impact point was located 36 ft on a 252° magnetic heading from where the airplane had come to rest. There was no discernable wreckage path, and numerous components were spread throughout the area of the accident site.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the aft fuselage was almost completely separated from the cabin. The engine was separated from the firewall; the propeller was separated from the engine; and the wings remained attached to their fittings.

Examination of the flight control system revealed no evidence of any preimpact failures or malfunctions, and control continuity was established from the rudder, elevator, and ailerons to the cockpit controls. The wing flaps were in the 34° (fully extended) position.

Examination of the cabin revealed that the master switch was in the "ON" position, and the magneto switch was in the "BOTH" position. The throttle was full forward; the mixture was full rich; and the primer was in and locked. The electric fuel pump was in the "OFF" position. The recording hour meter indicated 1,537.9 operating hours. A broken fuel stick made from a wooden dowel was found in the cabin. The dowel had the airplane registration number hand-written on it in ink, as well as a hand-drawn graduated scale. It also contained the hand-written words: "BOTTOM OF TANK IS 4 GAL."

Examination of the propeller revealed that damage to the nose spinner was concentrated on one side where it displayed crush and compression damage. Both propeller blades displayed minimal aft bending, minimal rotational scoring, and no evidence of leading edge gouging.

Examination of the engine revealed that oil was present in the rocker boxes and the galleries of the engine. Drivetrain continuity was established, and the intake valves and exhaust valves on all four cylinders were functional. Thumb compression was present on all four cylinders, and internal examination using a borescope revealed no anomalies. The spark plugs electrodes appeared normal and were light grey in color. Both magnetos were functional and produced spark from all towers.

Examination of the fuel system revealed that the engine-driven fuel pump was functional, but internal examination revealed that it was devoid of fuel. The carburetor was impact damaged; the float bowl had separated from the carburetor body; and the floats had been ejected from the float bowl. No evidence of fuel staining in the float bowl was present. The fuel strainer bowl was devoid of fuel. The fuel selector valve was in the right fuel tank position.

When the fuel tank caps were opened with the airplane in the position it came to rest (the left wing parallel to the ground and the right wingtip about 6 ft above the ground with the right wing at an angle of about 29° to the ground), a small amount of fuel about 1/4-inch-deep was observed in the bottom of the left tank. No fuel could be observed in the right tank. After suspending the attached cabin section from a crane in a wings level position, the fuel system was drained, which revealed that a negligible amount of fuel was present in the left fuel tank, and about 1/2 cup of fuel was present in the right tank.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences, performed an autopsy on the student pilot. The student's cause of death was blunt trauma of the head and neck.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of the student pilot. The specimens from the student pilot were negative for carbon monoxide, basic, acidic, and neutral drugs.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Examination of the fuel provider's records did not reveal any evidence of contamination. The certificate of analysis indicated that the fuel met the standard specification for aviation gasoline (ASTM D910), and the fuel facility checks indicated that all the fuel samples were clear and bright. The fueling facility had provided fuel to 13 other aircraft after the accident airplane had been fueled, dispensing a total of 330.78 gallons without any fuel-related problems being reported.

ORGANIZATIONAL AND MANAGEMENT INFORMATION

Asterix Aviation LLC, was organized on January 7, 2014 by Phobio LLC, a personal electronic device trade-in company located in Kennesaw, Georgia. Asterix Aviation operated out of two airports, JZP and Cobb County International Airport, Kennesaw, Georgia. At the time of the accident, they employed four flight instructors (this included the general manager who also instructed) and had about 44 students. The flight school had no written policies or procedures regarding fueling.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Aviation Instructor's Handbook (FAA-H-8083-9A)

According to Chapter 7, "Instructor Responsibilities and Professionalism," under the section titled "Aviation Instructor Responsibilities," lists five main responsibilities of aviation instructors. Those responsibilities are: "Helping Students learn. Providing adequate instruction. Demanding adequate standards of performance. Emphasizing the positive. Ensuring aviation safety." The chapter further explains that there are at least eight "Additional Responsibilities of Flight Instructors." One of those additional responsibilities is "Pilot supervision."

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA005
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 08, 2015 in Jasper, GA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 38-112, registration: N4313E
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 8, 2015, about 1830 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-38-112, N4313E, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain after a loss of engine power in Jasper, Georgia. The student pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which departed from Pickens County Airport (JZP), Jasper, Georgia.

According to a witness, the student pilot was on his second supervised solo flight. After takeoff from JZP, he flew out to the practice area and came back to the airport about an hour later. The student pilot then performed a touch and go landing on runway 16. During the climb after the touch and go, the witness heard the engine suddenly stop running. The airplane then "sunk down" and he observed the airplane turn to the left like the airplane was going to return to the airport. The airplane then appeared to enter an aerodynamic stall and then spin to the left. It was then observed to descend rapidly while still in the spin until it was lost from view behind trees, and the sound of impact was heard.

The airplane came to rest in a small grass covered automobile parking area located approximately 1,687 feet from the departure end of runway 16. All major components of the airplane were discovered on site. The initial impact point was located on a 252 degree magnetic heading from the wreckage, 36 feet from where the airplane had come to rest. There was no discernable wreckage path, and numerous components were spread throughout the area of the accident site.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the aft fuselage was almost completely separated from the cabin, the engine had separated from the firewall, the propeller was separated from the engine, and the wings had remained attached to their fittings.

Examination of the flight control system revealed no evidence of any preimpact failures or malfunctions, and control continuity was established from the rudder, elevator, and ailerons, to the cockpit controls.

Examination of the cabin revealed that the master switch was in the "ON" position, and the magneto switch was in the "BOTH" position. The throttle was full forward, and the mixture was full rich. The electric fuel pump was in the "OFF" position.

Examination of the propeller revealed that the majority of damage to the nose spinner was concentrated on one side where it displayed crush and compression damage. Both propeller blades displayed minimal aft bending, minimal rotational scoring, and no evidence of leading edge gouging.

Examination of the engine revealed that oil was present in the rocker boxes and the galleries of the engine. Drivetrain continuity was able to be established, and the intake valves and exhaust valves on all four cylinders were functional. Thumb compression was present on all four cylinders, and internal examination utilizing a borescope revealed no anomalies. The spark plugs electrodes appeared normal and were light grey in color. Both magnetos were functional and produced spark from all towers.

Examination of the fuel system revealed that the engine driven fuel pump was functional. The carburetor was impact damaged, the float bowl had separated from the carburetor body, and the floats had been ejected from the float bowl. No evidence of fuel staining in the float bowl was present. The fuel strainer was devoid of fuel. The fuel selector valve was in the right fuel tank position.

After opening the fuel tank caps of the airplane in the position it came to rest in, with the left wing parallel to the ground, and the right wingtip about 6 feet above the ground with the right wing at an approximately 29-degree angle to the ground, a small amount of fuel approximately 1/4 inch deep was observed in the bottom of the left tank. None could be observed in the right tank.

After suspending the attached cabin section from a crane in a wings level position and draining the fuel system, examination of the contents of the left and right fuels tanks revealed that a negligible amount of fuel was present in the left fuel tank, and approximately a 1/2 cup of fuel was present in the right tank.

Examination of fuel receipts revealed that the airplane had last been refueled on October 5, 2015.

Examination of the "Time Sheet" which was recovered from the wreckage indicated that after it had been refueled, the airplane had flown on four other flights prior to the accident flight. Further examination of the time sheet also revealed that when the accident occurred, the airplane had flown 4.9 hours since the last refueling.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and airplane maintenance records, the accident airplane was manufactured in 1978. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on October 3, 2015. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued approximately 3,147 total hours of operation.

According to FAA records, the student pilot, age 21, held a third class medical with student pilot certificate issued on August 24, 2015. Review of pilot records indicated that prior to the accident flight, he had accumulated 13.5 total hours of flight experience, 1.3 hours of which, were in solo flight.


Micheal Joseph Hughes died in an October 2015 crash.
~


The parents of a young man killed in a 2015 crash are suing the flight school after an NTSB report says they sent him up in a plane with almost no gas.

Michael Hughes crashed after he took off from the Pickens County Airport last October. 

A lawsuit filed this week accuses Asterix Aviation and its owners of negligence. The suit claims the instructors dispatched Hughes in a Piper Tomahawk in  a "dangerous, unsafe, and unairworthy condition with virtually empty fuel tanks". 

It was supposed to be Hughes's second supervised flight. He had only 13.5 hours of flight time, and less than two hours of solo flight time. Instead of a supervised flight, Hughes was sent up alone on October 3, 2015. 

After a series of flight maneuvers, Hughes climbed out of a touch and go maneuver and "the engine quit due to fuel exhaustion". The suit argues Hughes was terrorized as the plane plummeted to the ground and suffered "pain and suffering" before he died. 

Alan Armstrong, the attorney representing the Hughes family, said: “It is a tragic loss of human life that would never have happened if procedures every certificated flight instructor knows had been followed." 

A preliminary NTSB report found there was a "negligible" about of fuel in the left tank, and "approximately 1/2 cup of fuel" on the right tank. 

Attempts by 11Alive to reach those named in the lawsuit have been unsuccessful so far. 

Story, video and photo gallery:  http://www.11alive.com
Micheal Joseph Hughes, 21


JASPER, Ga. -- The family of a young man killed in a local plane crash released a statement on Saturday as they continue to grieve the unexpected loss.

Michael Joseph Hughes, 21, was practicing take-offs and landings at an airport in Jasper, Ga. when witnesses said the engine stopped making sound. The plane crashed a short time later not far from the south end of the runway.

Hughes, a pilot in training, died in the crash.

"His tragic and sudden loss has devastated his family and friends," a statement released on behalf of the family said. "He was a young and selfless person who was loved by many."

The National Transportation Safety Board and local authorities were on the scene of the crash, Friday, as part of an investigation that could take up to a year.

However, NTSB Investigator Todd Gunther said a preliminary report could be available in a matter of days.

At this point, the cause of the crash is unclear. Gunther and others members of the NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will begin looking into the circumstances of the crash, including the pilot's and aircraft's condition. They will also look at the weather at the time of the crash.

"While the NTSB investigation continues, our family asks that you respoect our privacy as we grieve our tremendous loss," the family's statement said.

Visitation for Hughes will be held at Mountain View Funeral Home in Blairsville, Ga. on Monday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The memorial service will also be at the funeral home on Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Family is requesting that no flowers be sent.

Source: http://www.11alive.com


JASPER, Ga. — Investigators from the NTSB in Washington, D.C., along the FAA are probing what caused a Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk plane to crash just a half-mile from the airstrip in Jasper.  
 
Michael Hughes, a 21-year-old flight student and volunteer firefighter, was on his third solo flight Thursday afternoon when the plane crashed, investigators said.

The NTSB told Channel 2’s Tom Regan he was doing touch-and-go take off and landings. After he took off a second time, witness said the aircraft's engine stopped making noise and seemed to cut out.

“The plane was observed to enter what someone described as similar to an aerodynamic stall. The nose pitched down and the airplane appeared to spin to the left until disappearing behind trees and then witness heard the aircraft impact," said Todd Gunther, with the NTSB.

Hughes died in the crash.

As part of the investigation, the NTSB said they will examine the plane’s engine system, structural integrity and maintenance records for the aircraft. They will also try to determine if pilot error played a role in the crash.

“(We are) working with the GBI for pathological means to assess the performance of the pilot,” Gunther said.

The NTSB told Regan they plan to remain at the crash scene through Saturday and will remove the plane for further investigation.

They told Regan they could have a preliminary report on the cause of the crash in the next week or two.


Source:  http://www.wsbtv.com









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

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

BRIAN K GODFREY ENTERPRISES INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N4313E   


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Atlanta FSDO-11

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA005
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 08, 2015 in Jasper, GA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 38-112, registration: N4313E
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 8, 2015, about 1830 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-38-112, N4313E, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain after a loss of engine power in Jasper, Georgia. The student pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which departed from Pickens County Airport (JZP), Jasper, Georgia.

According to a witness, the student pilot was on his second supervised solo flight. After takeoff from JZP, he flew out to the practice area and came back to the airport about an hour later. The student pilot then performed a touch and go landing on runway 16. During the climb after the touch and go, the witness heard the engine suddenly stop running. The airplane then "sunk down" and he observed the airplane turn to the left like the airplane was going to return to the airport. The airplane then appeared to enter an aerodynamic stall and then spin to the left. It was then observed to descend rapidly while still in the spin until it was lost from view behind trees, and the sound of impact was heard.

The airplane came to rest in a small grass covered automobile parking area located approximately 1,687 feet from the departure end of runway 16. All major components of the airplane were discovered on site. The initial impact point was located on a 252 degree magnetic heading from the wreckage, 36 feet from where the airplane had come to rest. There was no discernable wreckage path, and numerous components were spread throughout the area of the accident site.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the aft fuselage was almost completely separated from the cabin, the engine had separated from the firewall, the propeller was separated from the engine, and the wings had remained attached to their fittings.

Examination of the flight control system revealed no evidence of any preimpact failures or malfunctions, and control continuity was established from the rudder, elevator, and ailerons, to the cockpit controls.

Examination of the cabin revealed that the master switch was in the "ON" position, and the magneto switch was in the "BOTH" position. The throttle was full forward, and the mixture was full rich. The electric fuel pump was in the "OFF" position.

Examination of the propeller revealed that the majority of damage to the nose spinner was concentrated on one side where it displayed crush and compression damage. Both propeller blades displayed minimal aft bending, minimal rotational scoring, and no evidence of leading edge gouging.

Examination of the engine revealed that oil was present in the rocker boxes and the galleries of the engine. Drivetrain continuity was able to be established, and the intake valves and exhaust valves on all four cylinders were functional. Thumb compression was present on all four cylinders, and internal examination utilizing a borescope revealed no anomalies. The spark plugs electrodes appeared normal and were light grey in color. Both magnetos were functional and produced spark from all towers.

Examination of the fuel system revealed that the engine driven fuel pump was functional. The carburetor was impact damaged, the float bowl had separated from the carburetor body, and the floats had been ejected from the float bowl. No evidence of fuel staining in the float bowl was present. The fuel strainer was devoid of fuel. The fuel selector valve was in the right fuel tank position.

After opening the fuel tank caps of the airplane in the position it came to rest in, with the left wing parallel to the ground, and the right wingtip about 6 feet above the ground with the right wing at an approximately 29-degree angle to the ground, a small amount of fuel approximately 1/4 inch deep was observed in the bottom of the left tank. None could be observed in the right tank.

After suspending the attached cabin section from a crane in a wings level position and draining the fuel system, examination of the contents of the left and right fuels tanks revealed that a negligible amount of fuel was present in the left fuel tank, and approximately a 1/2 cup of fuel was present in the right tank.

Examination of fuel receipts revealed that the airplane had last been refueled on October 5, 2015.

Examination of the "Time Sheet" which was recovered from the wreckage indicated that after it had been refueled, the airplane had flown on four other flights prior to the accident flight. Further examination of the time sheet also revealed that when the accident occurred, the airplane had flown 4.9 hours since the last refueling.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and airplane maintenance records, the accident airplane was manufactured in 1978. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on October 3, 2015. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued approximately 3,147 total hours of operation.

According to FAA records, the student pilot, age 21, held a third class medical with student pilot certificate issued on August 24, 2015. Review of pilot records indicated that prior to the accident flight, he had accumulated 13.5 total hours of flight experience, 1.3 hours of which, were in solo flight.


Micheal Joseph Hughes died in an October 2015 crash.
~


The parents of a young man killed in a 2015 crash are suing the flight school after an NTSB report says they sent him up in a plane with almost no gas.

Michael Hughes crashed after he took off from the Pickens County Airport last October. 

A lawsuit filed this week accuses Asterix Aviation and its owners of negligence. The suit claims the instructors dispatched Hughes in a Piper Tomahawk in  a "dangerous, unsafe, and unairworthy condition with virtually empty fuel tanks". 

It was supposed to be Hughes's second supervised flight. He had only 13.5 hours of flight time, and less than two hours of solo flight time. Instead of a supervised flight, Hughes was sent up alone on October 3, 2015. 

After a series of flight maneuvers, Hughes climbed out of a touch and go maneuver and "the engine quit due to fuel exhaustion". The suit argues Hughes was terrorized as the plane plummeted to the ground and suffered "pain and suffering" before he died. 

Alan Armstrong, the attorney representing the Hughes family, said: “It is a tragic loss of human life that would never have happened if procedures every certificated flight instructor knows had been followed." 

A preliminary NTSB report found there was a "negligible" about of fuel in the left tank, and "approximately 1/2 cup of fuel" on the right tank. 

Attempts by 11Alive to reach those named in the lawsuit have been unsuccessful so far. 

Story, video and photo gallery:  http://www.11alive.com

6 comments:

gretnabear said...

All Pre-Flight Checks for all aircraft includes "Fuel Quantity and Color...Check".

Anonymous said...

yup. this is exceedingly tragic and the school is certainly at least partially liable. but as a student the deceased was certainly instructed on when and how to check fuel. my first CFI gave me valuable advice when he said...'Rich, nothing good happens in a hurry'. I bet the student was so psyched about a solo flight that he failed to follow the checklist.

Aviddds said...

So sorry for your loss!
But sueing the flight school won't bring him back.
When he got into that plane he was pilot in command and should've confirmed fuel quantity.
I understand that he'll forever be your little boy.
Again, I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

The student was negligent in operating of the aircraft in full compliance with the pre-flight checks nor monitoring instrument gauges. The student's family should be sued by the flight school for damage to their aircraft and economic losses from that aircraft no longer being in service.

Anonymous said...

You can sue anyone, for anything, at anytime. I can just imagine the lawyers in this particular lawsuit rubbing their hands at the thought of at least 35 percent, plus expenses. Lawyers always win! Losers always pay!

Anonymous said...

The student pilot was given the *command* to fly the plane, even when the flight school and instructor knowingly was aware both tanks were nearly exhausted of fuel. It's more than negligence, it's *gross negligence*.