Friday, June 10, 2016

Grumman AA-1B Trainer, N4SU, registered to and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred June 10, 2016 near Hawthorne Municipal Airport (KHHR), Los Angeles County, California

Aron Saul Rappoport
MARCH 24, 1926 – JUNE 10, 2016

An 18 year old Aron enlisted in the United States Army-Air Force on June 2, 1944. Private First Class Rappoport spent most of his service working on, and around, airplanes. He was Honorably Discharged at the conclusion of the Second World War, but his passion for planes and aviation lasted a lifetime. Aron attended UCLA, and graduated in the class of 1948, with a Bachelor's of Administration degree. He would go on to a respected and successful career in commercial finance. When he wasn't working hard in the office, he was traveling the globe with his friends and family; enjoying skiing, sailing, traveling to National Parks, and of course, jazz.


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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Los Angeles, California
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

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

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

Aron S. Rappoport: http://registry.faa.gov/N4SU



Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Hawthorne, CA
Accident Number: WPR16FA124
Date & Time: 06/10/2016, 1710 PDT
Registration: N4SU
Aircraft: GRUMMAN AMERICAN AVN. CORP. AA 1B
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

Analysis 

The 90-year-old private pilot, who was the owner of the airplane, was receiving a flight review from the 71-year-old flight instructor. The airport tower controllers reported that, during takeoff, the airplane became airborne, settled back onto the 4,956-ft-long runway about 1,500 ft from its initial rotation point, and then become airborne again. The airplane remained low as it proceeded away from the airport. One witness reported that the engine sounded "rough" and that the airplane's rate of climb was "much lower" than that of a typical airplane on departure. The witness observed the pilot repeatedly lowering and raising the airplane's nose as if trying to gain altitude. Each time the airplane pitched up, it lost altitude, consistent with operation at or very near the airplane's critical angle of attack.

The airplane subsequently impacted a tree and a residence about 1 nautical mile west of the airport and was destroyed by a postcrash fire. Examination of the flight controls and airframe revealed no anomalies. Examination of the engine revealed continuity of the valvetrain and drivetrain; however, disassembly revealed radial scoring of the crankshaft bearings, spalling of the tappet faces corresponding to the intake valves of all 4 cylinders, and extensive wear of the corresponding camshaft lobes. The severely worn camshaft lobes would have reduced the amount and duration of the intake valve openings, resulting in decreased power output. The magnitude of the power loss could not be determined.

The airplane was operating within its weight and balance limitations, and, given the atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident, the takeoff distance should have been about 1,000 ft. When the airplane settled back onto the runway long after it should have become airborne, the pilots should have stopped the airplane and any further takeoff attempts; rather they chose to continue with a second takeoff and climb toward a densely-populated area.

The pilot purchased the 42-year-old airplane about 7 months before the accident. The most recent annual inspection was conducted about the time of the purchase at an airframe and engine total time of 1,724 hours. Although manufacturer guidance specified that the engine should be overhauled at 2,000-hour intervals or every 12 years, whichever occurred first, the engine had never been overhauled. The airplane had been operated less than 20 hours per year in the 2 years before the most recent annual inspection; according to the manufacturer, engines that are not operated on a regular basis may accumulate internal corrosion due to a loss of protective oil film.

Although the pilot had medical issues and used several medications, none of these should have caused a cognitive issue. Whether or not he had age-related cognitive issues that might have contributed to his failure to recognize the airplane's poor performance and abort the takeoff could not be determined. The instructor had a series of medical conditions, including coronary artery disease, bypass surgery, kidney failure requiring dialysis, chronic back pain, atrial fibrillation, and psychiatric disease. The instructor's serious medical conditions placed him at risk for sudden impairment or incapacitation; however, it is unlikely that these conditions contributed to the accident. Additionally, three central nervous system depressant medications were found in toxicology specimens from the instructor. Due to the limited information from the toxicology testing regarding blood levels of the drugs, it could not be determined whether the instructor's use of multiple impairing medications contributed to the accident. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The failure of both pilots to land the airplane on the remaining runway when a sufficient rate of climb could not be attained. Contributing to the accident was a reduction of available engine power due to severe camshaft lobe wear. 

Findings

Aircraft
Climb rate - Attain/maintain not possible (Cause)
Angle of attack - Capability exceeded (Cause)
Climb capability - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Engine (reciprocating) - Damaged/degraded (Factor)

Personnel issues
Incorrect action selection - Pilot (Cause)
Incorrect action selection - Instructor/check pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff
Loss of engine power (partial) (Defining event)

Initial climb
Loss of control in flight
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On June 10, 2016, at 1710 Pacific daylight time, a Grumman American Aviation Corporation AA-1B, N4SU, was destroyed when it impacted a residence shortly after takeoff from Jack Northrop Field/Hawthorne Municipal Airport (HHR), Hawthorne, California. The private pilot and flight instructor were fatally injured. There were no ground injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instructional flight, and no flight plan was filed.

A mechanic at a fixed-base operator (FBO) at HHR stated that the pilot and the instructor met in the lobby of the FBO before proceeding to the airplane about 10 minutes later. He stated that the flight was part of a flight review. The mechanic stated that he was not familiar with the instructor and that the pilot typically flew alone. He observed the airplane take off and stated that he "knew something was wrong" when the airplane was about 3/4 of the way down the runway during the takeoff roll. As it neared the departure end of the runway, the airplane was "about at the roofline" of the surrounding buildings and in a nose-up attitude. He stated that the engine sounded "smooth" but like it was "at half power."

The tower controllers at HHR reported that the pilot phoned the tower to arrange for a no-radio departure using light gun signals. During this conversation, the pilot said that he had obtained the current automated weather information. The airplane taxied to runway 25, was issued a green light gun signal, and subsequently departed. The controllers observed the airplane become airborne, settle back onto the runway about 1,500 ft from its initial rotation point, and then become airborne again. The controllers stated that the airplane "remained low" as it climbed out.

A commercial pilot who was preparing to start his airplane at HHR stated that his attention was drawn to the accident airplane due to the "rough" sound of its engine, and he stated that its climb rate was "much lower" than that of a typical airplane on departure. He estimated its altitude at the departure end of the runway to be between 400 and 500 ft above the ground. He stated that the pilot appeared to be "trying to gain altitude by lowering the nose to gain airspeed and pitching up"; however, each time the airplane's nose rose, the airplane lost altitude. He then saw the airplane "steering around some palm trees to avoid a collision" before it disappeared from his view below trees and buildings.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 90, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/19/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 3000 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor
Age: 71, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/16/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  18000 hours (Total, all aircraft)

The pilot, age 90, was the owner of the airplane. He held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multi-engine land, instrument airplane, and glider. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on August 19, 2015, with a limitation for corrective lenses, and was not valid for any class after August 31, 2016. On the application for that certificate, the pilot reported 3,000 total hours of flight experience, of which 50 hours was flown in the previous 6 months.

The instructor, age 71, held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multi-engine land, and a flight instructor certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in May 2016 with a limitation for corrective lenses. On the application for that certificate, he reported 18,000 total hours of flight experience, with 200 hours in the previous 6 months.

Personal flight logs were not recovered for either pilot. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: GRUMMAN AMERICAN AVN. CORP.
Registration: N4SU
Model/Series: AA 1B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1974
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: AA1B-0346
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/16/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1561 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1724 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-235-C2C
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 115 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  None 

The airplane was manufactured in 1974 and registered to the pilot in December 2015. It was equipped with a 108-horsepower (hp) Lycoming O-235-C2C reciprocating engine. In June 2005, the airplane was equipped with a new propeller in accordance with a supplemental type certificate, which increased the engine power rating from 108 hp to 115 hp. The most recent annual inspection was completed in November 2015 at 1,724 hours total airframe time. At the time of the annual inspection, the engine had accumulated 1,724 hours since new and 611.6 hours since top overhaul. (At an unspecified time in 2001, the engine received 4 new cylinders, commonly referred to as a top overhaul.) The maintenance logbooks indicated that the airplane had accumulated about 39 hours of operation in the 26 months before this annual inspection. The airframe and engine times at the time of the accident could not be determined.

According to the maintenance logbooks, the engine had never been overhauled.

The total fuel on board the airplane at the time of the accident could not be determined. If the airplane had been fueled to capacity (24 gallons) before the flight, it would have been operating about 20 lbs under its maximum certificated gross weight of 1,560 lbs. At maximum gross weight, given the atmospheric conditions present at the time of the accident, the airplane's takeoff ground run distance would have been about 850 ft; its distance to clear a 50-ft obstacle would have been about 1,700 ft.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHHR, 65 ft msl
Observation Time: 2353 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 81°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 14°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots, 270°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.89 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hawthorne, CA (HHR)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination:
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1709 PDT
Type of Airspace:  Class D 

The 1653 weather observation at HHR included wind from 270° at 8 knots, clear skies, 10 miles visibility, temperature 22°C, dew point 4°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.89 inches of mercury. 

Airport Information

Airport: JACK NORTHROP FIELD/HAWTHORNE (HHR)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 65 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 25
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4956 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing:  None 

The airport was located in a densely-populated suburb of Los Angeles. The area surrounding the airport comprised both residential and business developments. 



Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.920000, -118.358056 

The airplane impacted a residence about 1 nautical mile west of HHR. The initial impact point was identified as an approximate 30-ft-tall palm tree about 40 ft east of the residence. The majority of the airplane's left wing came to rest under the tree and exhibited a concave depression consistent with the diameter of the tree. The main wreckage came to rest against the front of the residence and was consumed by postcrash fire. The empennage was suspended from the second-floor balcony, and the control cables remained attached to the main wreckage. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit area to the rudder and elevator; however, continuity to the ailerons could not be established due to fire damage. The wing spar was fractured in several locations. No information could be obtained from the cockpit instruments.

The propeller remained attached to the engine at the crankshaft flange, and the engine remained attached to its mounts. One propeller blade exhibited slight s-bending and chordwise scratching; the second blade was relatively undamaged.

The engine was rotated by hand, and continuity of the valve and drivetrain was confirmed. Thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders. The carburetor was separated from the engine and sustained thermal damage. The float bowl was absent of fuel, and both metal floats were damaged. The magnetos and engine-driven fuel pump were significantly fire damaged and could not be tested further. The spark plugs were removed and displayed normal wear.

Disassembly and detailed examination of the engine's internal components revealed that the crankshaft was undamaged; however, all of the bearings displayed radial scoring. The tappet faces corresponding to the intake valves of all 4 cylinders displayed spalling, and the corresponding camshaft lobes were significantly worn. When measured with a caliper, the camshaft lobes corresponding to all 4 exhaust valves measured 1.400 inches. The lobe corresponding to the Nos. 1 and 2 cylinder intakes measured 1.275 inches, and the lobe corresponding to the Nos. 3 and 4 cylinder intakes measured 1.250 inches. 

Medical And Pathological Information

Pilot

The County of Los Angeles, Department of Medical Examiner–Coroner, Los Angeles, California, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was multiple blunt injuries, and the manner of death was accident. Contributing to the death was atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Examination of the body for natural disease was limited by the severity of the pilot's injuries. The heart weighed 660 grams and showed biventricular enlargement (average for a 190-lb man is 362 grams with a range of 275-478 grams). The left ventricular wall and septum were thickened at 2.2 cm, and the right ventricular wall was thickened at 0.7 cm (averages are 1.23 cm for the left wall and septum and 0.3 cm for the right wall). The native coronary arteries were severely stenosed at 80% for the left anterior descending and 90% for the right and circumflex coronary arteries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing of specimens from the pilot. Losartan was identified in lung tissue, urine, and cavity blood; metoprolol was identified in urine and blood; and sitagliptin was identified in lung tissue, urine, and cavity blood. Losartan and metoprolol are prescription medications used for the treatment of high blood pressure. Sitagliptin is a prescription medication used to treat diabetes. None of these medications are considered impairing.

Instructor

The County of Los Angeles, Department of Medical Examiner–Coroner, Los Angeles, California, performed an autopsy on the instructor. The cause of death was flame burn injury and multiple blunt force injuries, and the manner of death was accident. The heart was described as severely enlarged and dilated. It weighed 500 grams; the average for a 163-lb man is 336 grams with a range of 255 to 444 grams. The left ventricle and septum were 1.6 cm thick, and the right ventricle was 0.3 cm thick. The autopsy noted sternotomy wires from a previous procedure, along with scarring of the pericardium, but the report did not describe the degree of stenosis in the left anterior descending coronary artery or the presence/patency of the graft from the left internal mammary artery. The report did describe extensive atherosclerosis with 80% stenosis of the right coronary artery and 30% stenosis of the circumflex branch of the left coronary artery. The absence of the right kidney was also noted.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing of specimens from the instructor. Atvorastatin was identified in liver; cetirizine, hydroxyzine, and warfarin were identified in liver, lung, and muscle; and 0.063 ug/mL of tramadol was identified in blood. Atvorastatin, also called Lipitor, is a prescription medication for the treatment of high cholesterol, and it is not considered impairing. Cetirizine, often sold as Zyrtec, is a potentially-sedating antihistamine available over the counter and by prescription. It carries the warning, "when using this product, drowsiness may occur; alcohol, sedatives, and tranquilizers may increase drowsiness; avoid alcoholic drinks; be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery." Hyroxyzine is a sedating antihistamine available by prescription and often sold with the names Atarax and Vistaril. Its warning states, "since drowsiness may occur with use of this drug, patients should be warned of this possibility and cautioned against driving a car or operating dangerous machinery while taking hydroxyzine. Patients should also be advised against the simultaneous use of other [central nervous system] suppressant drugs and cautioned that the effects of alcohol may be increased." Tramadol is prescription opioid available as a Schedule IV controlled substance and used to treat pain. It increases the risk of seizures via an unknown mechanism, even when used at usual doses. Tramadol can be sedating and "should be used with caution and in reduced dosages when administered to patients receiving other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, opioids, anesthetic agents, narcotics, phenothiazines, tranquilizers, or sedative hypnotics. Tramadol hydrochloride increases the risk of CNS and respiratory depression in these patients."

According to the instructor's personal medical records, he developed kidney failure and began dialysis in 2012. In early 2013, he developed severe coronary artery disease, which required a coronary artery bypass graft procedure in January 2013. Also in 2013, he had the laparoscopic removal of an ileal mass, underwent hernia surgery, and had a cancerous right kidney removed. All these procedures were complicated by paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. By 2015, he was chronically in atrial fibrillation and was taking warfarin (a blood thinner) for anticoagulation. In addition to his hypertension, he had chronic low back pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, an anxiety disorder, and restless leg syndrome. The pilot did not report these conditions to the FAA. On the day before the accident, the instructor checked in with his pharmacist regarding his medications. Among his 18 active, daily home medication prescriptions were acetaminophen, methocarbamol, lidocaine/prilocaine cream, and tramadol for pain; omeprazole for heartburn; aspirin to prevent heart attack; carvedilol and losartan for blood pressure; atorvastatin for cholesterol; loratadine and hydroxyzine for chronic itching; pramipexole for restless leg syndrome; sertraline for depression; and warfarin to thin his blood. Of these medications, methocarbamol, tramadol, pramipexole, and sertraline are either potentially impairing or indicate a potentially-impairing condition.

Additional Information

According to Lycoming Service Instruction SI1009AZ, "Recommended Time Between Overhaul Periods," the make/model engine installed on the airplane should be overhauled at 2,000-hour intervals or before the 12th year, whichever occurs first. The instruction further states:

Engine deterioration in the form of corrosion (rust) and the drying out and hardening of composition materials such as gaskets, seals, flexible hoses and fuel pump diaphragms can occur if an engine is out of service for an extended period of time. Due to loss of a protective oil film after an extended period of inactivity, abnormal wear on soft metal bearing surfaces can occur during engine start.

Lycoming Service Letter L180B, "Engine Preservation for Active and Stored Aircraft," states that, "Engines in aircraft that are flown only occasionally may not achieve normal service life because of corrosion. This occurs when moisture from the air and products of combustion combine to attack cylinder walls and bearing surfaces during periods when the aircraft is not used."








NTSB Identification: WPR16FA124
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 10, 2016 in Hawthorne, CA
Aircraft: GRUMMAN AMERICAN AVN. CORP. AA 1B, registration: N4SU
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On June 10, 2016, at 1710 Pacific daylight time, a Grumman American Aviation Corporation AA 1B, N4SU, was destroyed when it impacted a residence after takeoff from Jack Northrop Field/Hawthorne Municipal Airport (HHR), Hawthorne, California. The private pilot/owner and flight instructor were fatally injured. There were no ground injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the instructional flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

The tower controller at HHR stated that the pilot/owner called the tower on the telephone to arrange for a no-radio departure utilizing light gun signals from the tower. During this conversation, the pilot also indicated that he had obtained the current automated weather information. The airplane taxied to runway 25, was issued a green light gun signal, and subsequently departed. The controllers observed the airplane become airborne, settle back onto the runway, then become airborne again, and stated that it "remained low" as it climbed out. 

A witness located at HHR stated that his attention was drawn to the accident airplane due to the "rough" sound of its engine, and he stated that its climb was "much lower" than that of a typical airplane on departure. He estimated its altitude at the departure end of the runway to be between 400 and 500 feet above the ground, and stated that it did not appear to climb any higher. As the airplane continued west, he saw it disappear below trees and buildings, and subsequently observed black smoke in the vicinity of its last observed position. 

The 1653 weather observation at HHR included wind from 270 degrees at 8 knots, clear skies, 10 miles visibility, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 4 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.89 inches of mercury. 

The initial impact point was identified as an approximate 30-foot-tall palm tree. The majority of the airplane's left wing came to rest under the tree, and exhibited a concave depression consistent with the diameter of the tree. The main wreckage came to rest against a residence, and was consumed by postcrash fire. The empennage was suspended from the second floor balcony, and the control cables remained attached to the main wreckage. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit area to the rudder and elevator; however, continuity to the ailerons could not be established due to fire damage. The wing spar was fractured in several locations. No information could be obtained from the cockpit instruments.

The propeller remained attached to the engine at the crankshaft flange, and the engine remained attached to its mounts. One propeller blade exhibited slight s-bending and chordwise scratching; the second blade was relatively undamaged. 

The engine was rotated by hand and continuity of the valve and drivetrain was confirmed. Thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders. The carburetor was separated from the engine and sustained thermal damage. The float bowl was absent of fuel, and both metal floats were damaged. The magnetos and engine-driven fuel pump were significantly fire damaged and could not be tested further. The spark plugs were removed and displayed normal wear.

Disassembly and detailed examination of the engine's internal components revealed that the crankshaft was undamaged; however, all of the bearings displayed radial scoring. The tappet faces corresponding to the intake valves of all 4 cylinders displayed spalling, and the corresponding camshaft lobes were significantly worn.
Aron Saul Rappoport
MARCH 24, 1926 – JUNE 10, 2016

An 18 year old Aron enlisted in the United States Army-Air Force on June 2, 1944. Private First Class Rappoport spent most of his service working on, and around, airplanes. He was Honorably Discharged at the conclusion of the Second World War, but his passion for planes and aviation lasted a lifetime. Aron attended UCLA, and graduated in the class of 1948, with a Bachelor's of Administration degree. He would go on to a respected and successful career in commercial finance. When he wasn't working hard in the office, he was traveling the globe with his friends and family; enjoying skiing, sailing, traveling to National Parks, and of course, jazz.


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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Los Angeles, California 
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


Aron S. Rappoport: http://registry.faa.gov/N4SU

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Hawthorne, CA
Accident Number: WPR16FA124
Date & Time: 06/10/2016, 1710 PDT
Registration: N4SU
Aircraft: GRUMMAN AMERICAN AVN. CORP. AA 1B
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On June 10, 2016, at 1710 Pacific daylight time, a Grumman American Aviation Corporation AA-1B, N4SU, was destroyed when it impacted a residence shortly after takeoff from Jack Northrop Field/Hawthorne Municipal Airport (HHR), Hawthorne, California. The private pilot and flight instructor were fatally injured. There were no ground injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instructional flight, and no flight plan was filed.

A mechanic at a fixed-base operator (FBO) at HHR stated that the pilot and the instructor met in the lobby of the FBO before proceeding to the airplane about 10 minutes later. He stated that the flight was part of a flight review. The mechanic stated that he was not familiar with the instructor and that the pilot typically flew alone. He observed the airplane take off and stated that he "knew something was wrong" when the airplane was about 3/4 of the way down the runway during the takeoff roll. As it neared the departure end of the runway, the airplane was "about at the roofline" of the surrounding buildings and in a nose-up attitude. He stated that the engine sounded "smooth" but like it was "at half power."

The tower controllers at HHR reported that the pilot phoned the tower to arrange for a no-radio departure using light gun signals. During this conversation, the pilot said that he had obtained the current automated weather information. The airplane taxied to runway 25, was issued a green light gun signal, and subsequently departed. The controllers observed the airplane become airborne, settle back onto the runway about 1,500 ft from its initial rotation point, and then become airborne again. The controllers stated that the airplane "remained low" as it climbed out.

A commercial pilot who was preparing to start his airplane at HHR stated that his attention was drawn to the accident airplane due to the "rough" sound of its engine, and he stated that its climb rate was "much lower" than that of a typical airplane on departure. He estimated its altitude at the departure end of the runway to be between 400 and 500 ft above the ground. He stated that the pilot appeared to be "trying to gain altitude by lowering the nose to gain airspeed and pitching up"; however, each time the airplane's nose rose, the airplane lost altitude. He then saw the airplane "steering around some palm trees to avoid a collision" before it disappeared from his view below trees and buildings.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 90, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/19/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 3000 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor
Age: 71, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/16/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  18000 hours (Total, all aircraft)

The pilot, age 90, was the owner of the airplane. He held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multi-engine land, instrument airplane, and glider. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on August 19, 2015, with a limitation for corrective lenses, and was not valid for any class after August 31, 2016. On the application for that certificate, the pilot reported 3,000 total hours of flight experience, of which 50 hours was flown in the previous 6 months.

The instructor, age 71, held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multi-engine land, and a flight instructor certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in May 2016 with a limitation for corrective lenses. On the application for that certificate, he reported 18,000 total hours of flight experience, with 200 hours in the previous 6 months.

Personal flight logs were not recovered for either pilot. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: GRUMMAN AMERICAN AVN. CORP.
Registration: N4SU
Model/Series: AA 1B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1974
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: AA1B-0346
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/16/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1561 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1724 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-235-C2C
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 115 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  None 

The airplane was manufactured in 1974 and registered to the pilot in December 2015. It was equipped with a 108-horsepower (hp) Lycoming O-235-C2C reciprocating engine. In June 2005, the airplane was equipped with a new propeller in accordance with a supplemental type certificate, which increased the engine power rating from 108 hp to 115 hp. The most recent annual inspection was completed in November 2015 at 1,724 hours total airframe time. At the time of the annual inspection, the engine had accumulated 1,724 hours since new and 611.6 hours since top overhaul. (At an unspecified time in 2001, the engine received 4 new cylinders, commonly referred to as a top overhaul.) The maintenance logbooks indicated that the airplane had accumulated about 39 hours of operation in the 26 months before this annual inspection. The airframe and engine times at the time of the accident could not be determined.

According to the maintenance logbooks, the engine had never been overhauled.

The total fuel on board the airplane at the time of the accident could not be determined. If the airplane had been fueled to capacity (24 gallons) before the flight, it would have been operating about 20 lbs under its maximum certificated gross weight of 1,560 lbs. At maximum gross weight, given the atmospheric conditions present at the time of the accident, the airplane's takeoff ground run distance would have been about 850 ft; its distance to clear a 50-ft obstacle would have been about 1,700 ft.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHHR, 65 ft msl
Observation Time: 2353 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 81°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 14°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots, 270°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.89 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hawthorne, CA (HHR)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination:
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1709 PDT
Type of Airspace:  Class D 

The 1653 weather observation at HHR included wind from 270° at 8 knots, clear skies, 10 miles visibility, temperature 22°C, dew point 4°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.89 inches of mercury. 

Airport Information

Airport: JACK NORTHROP FIELD/HAWTHORNE (HHR)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 65 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 25
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4956 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing:  None 

The airport was located in a densely-populated suburb of Los Angeles. The area surrounding the airport comprised both residential and business developments. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.920000, -118.358056 

The airplane impacted a residence about 1 nautical mile west of HHR. The initial impact point was identified as an approximate 30-ft-tall palm tree about 40 ft east of the residence. The majority of the airplane's left wing came to rest under the tree and exhibited a concave depression consistent with the diameter of the tree. The main wreckage came to rest against the front of the residence and was consumed by postcrash fire. The empennage was suspended from the second-floor balcony, and the control cables remained attached to the main wreckage. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit area to the rudder and elevator; however, continuity to the ailerons could not be established due to fire damage. The wing spar was fractured in several locations. No information could be obtained from the cockpit instruments.

The propeller remained attached to the engine at the crankshaft flange, and the engine remained attached to its mounts. One propeller blade exhibited slight s-bending and chordwise scratching; the second blade was relatively undamaged.

The engine was rotated by hand, and continuity of the valve and drivetrain was confirmed. Thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders. The carburetor was separated from the engine and sustained thermal damage. The float bowl was absent of fuel, and both metal floats were damaged. The magnetos and engine-driven fuel pump were significantly fire damaged and could not be tested further. The spark plugs were removed and displayed normal wear.

Disassembly and detailed examination of the engine's internal components revealed that the crankshaft was undamaged; however, all of the bearings displayed radial scoring. The tappet faces corresponding to the intake valves of all 4 cylinders displayed spalling, and the corresponding camshaft lobes were significantly worn. When measured with a caliper, the camshaft lobes corresponding to all 4 exhaust valves measured 1.400 inches. The lobe corresponding to the Nos. 1 and 2 cylinder intakes measured 1.275 inches, and the lobe corresponding to the Nos. 3 and 4 cylinder intakes measured 1.250 inches. 

Medical And Pathological Information

Pilot

The County of Los Angeles, Department of Medical Examiner–Coroner, Los Angeles, California, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was multiple blunt injuries, and the manner of death was accident. Contributing to the death was atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Examination of the body for natural disease was limited by the severity of the pilot's injuries. The heart weighed 660 grams and showed biventricular enlargement (average for a 190-lb man is 362 grams with a range of 275-478 grams). The left ventricular wall and septum were thickened at 2.2 cm, and the right ventricular wall was thickened at 0.7 cm (averages are 1.23 cm for the left wall and septum and 0.3 cm for the right wall). The native coronary arteries were severely stenosed at 80% for the left anterior descending and 90% for the right and circumflex coronary arteries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing of specimens from the pilot. Losartan was identified in lung tissue, urine, and cavity blood; metoprolol was identified in urine and blood; and sitagliptin was identified in lung tissue, urine, and cavity blood. Losartan and metoprolol are prescription medications used for the treatment of high blood pressure. Sitagliptin is a prescription medication used to treat diabetes. None of these medications are considered impairing.

Instructor

The County of Los Angeles, Department of Medical Examiner–Coroner, Los Angeles, California, performed an autopsy on the instructor. The cause of death was flame burn injury and multiple blunt force injuries, and the manner of death was accident. The heart was described as severely enlarged and dilated. It weighed 500 grams; the average for a 163-lb man is 336 grams with a range of 255 to 444 grams. The left ventricle and septum were 1.6 cm thick, and the right ventricle was 0.3 cm thick. The autopsy noted sternotomy wires from a previous procedure, along with scarring of the pericardium, but the report did not describe the degree of stenosis in the left anterior descending coronary artery or the presence/patency of the graft from the left internal mammary artery. The report did describe extensive atherosclerosis with 80% stenosis of the right coronary artery and 30% stenosis of the circumflex branch of the left coronary artery. The absence of the right kidney was also noted.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing of specimens from the instructor. Atvorastatin was identified in liver; cetirizine, hydroxyzine, and warfarin were identified in liver, lung, and muscle; and 0.063 ug/mL of tramadol was identified in blood. Atvorastatin, also called Lipitor, is a prescription medication for the treatment of high cholesterol, and it is not considered impairing. Cetirizine, often sold as Zyrtec, is a potentially-sedating antihistamine available over the counter and by prescription. It carries the warning, "when using this product, drowsiness may occur; alcohol, sedatives, and tranquilizers may increase drowsiness; avoid alcoholic drinks; be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery." Hyroxyzine is a sedating antihistamine available by prescription and often sold with the names Atarax and Vistaril. Its warning states, "since drowsiness may occur with use of this drug, patients should be warned of this possibility and cautioned against driving a car or operating dangerous machinery while taking hydroxyzine. Patients should also be advised against the simultaneous use of other [central nervous system] suppressant drugs and cautioned that the effects of alcohol may be increased." Tramadol is prescription opioid available as a Schedule IV controlled substance and used to treat pain. It increases the risk of seizures via an unknown mechanism, even when used at usual doses. Tramadol can be sedating and "should be used with caution and in reduced dosages when administered to patients receiving other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, opioids, anesthetic agents, narcotics, phenothiazines, tranquilizers, or sedative hypnotics. Tramadol hydrochloride increases the risk of CNS and respiratory depression in these patients."

According to the instructor's personal medical records, he developed kidney failure and began dialysis in 2012. In early 2013, he developed severe coronary artery disease, which required a coronary artery bypass graft procedure in January 2013. Also in 2013, he had the laparoscopic removal of an ileal mass, underwent hernia surgery, and had a cancerous right kidney removed. All these procedures were complicated by paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. By 2015, he was chronically in atrial fibrillation and was taking warfarin (a blood thinner) for anticoagulation. In addition to his hypertension, he had chronic low back pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, an anxiety disorder, and restless leg syndrome. The pilot did not report these conditions to the FAA. On the day before the accident, the instructor checked in with his pharmacist regarding his medications. Among his 18 active, daily home medication prescriptions were acetaminophen, methocarbamol, lidocaine/prilocaine cream, and tramadol for pain; omeprazole for heartburn; aspirin to prevent heart attack; carvedilol and losartan for blood pressure; atorvastatin for cholesterol; loratadine and hydroxyzine for chronic itching; pramipexole for restless leg syndrome; sertraline for depression; and warfarin to thin his blood. Of these medications, methocarbamol, tramadol, pramipexole, and sertraline are either potentially impairing or indicate a potentially-impairing condition.

Additional Information

According to Lycoming Service Instruction SI1009AZ, "Recommended Time Between Overhaul Periods," the make/model engine installed on the airplane should be overhauled at 2,000-hour intervals or before the 12th year, whichever occurs first. The instruction further states:

Engine deterioration in the form of corrosion (rust) and the drying out and hardening of composition materials such as gaskets, seals, flexible hoses and fuel pump diaphragms can occur if an engine is out of service for an extended period of time. Due to loss of a protective oil film after an extended period of inactivity, abnormal wear on soft metal bearing surfaces can occur during engine start.

Lycoming Service Letter L180B, "Engine Preservation for Active and Stored Aircraft," states that, "Engines in aircraft that are flown only occasionally may not achieve normal service life because of corrosion. This occurs when moisture from the air and products of combustion combine to attack cylinder walls and bearing surfaces during periods when the aircraft is not used."

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA124
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 10, 2016 in Hawthorne, CA
Aircraft: GRUMMAN AMERICAN AVN. CORP. AA 1B, registration: N4SU
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On June 10, 2016, at 1710 Pacific daylight time, a Grumman American Aviation Corporation AA 1B, N4SU, was destroyed when it impacted a residence after takeoff from Jack Northrop Field/Hawthorne Municipal Airport (HHR), Hawthorne, California. The private pilot/owner and flight instructor were fatally injured. There were no ground injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the instructional flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

The tower controller at HHR stated that the pilot/owner called the tower on the telephone to arrange for a no-radio departure utilizing light gun signals from the tower. During this conversation, the pilot also indicated that he had obtained the current automated weather information. The airplane taxied to runway 25, was issued a green light gun signal, and subsequently departed. The controllers observed the airplane become airborne, settle back onto the runway, then become airborne again, and stated that it "remained low" as it climbed out. 

A witness located at HHR stated that his attention was drawn to the accident airplane due to the "rough" sound of its engine, and he stated that its climb was "much lower" than that of a typical airplane on departure. He estimated its altitude at the departure end of the runway to be between 400 and 500 feet above the ground, and stated that it did not appear to climb any higher. As the airplane continued west, he saw it disappear below trees and buildings, and subsequently observed black smoke in the vicinity of its last observed position. 

The 1653 weather observation at HHR included wind from 270 degrees at 8 knots, clear skies, 10 miles visibility, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 4 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.89 inches of mercury. 

The initial impact point was identified as an approximate 30-foot-tall palm tree. The majority of the airplane's left wing came to rest under the tree, and exhibited a concave depression consistent with the diameter of the tree. The main wreckage came to rest against a residence, and was consumed by postcrash fire. The empennage was suspended from the second floor balcony, and the control cables remained attached to the main wreckage. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit area to the rudder and elevator; however, continuity to the ailerons could not be established due to fire damage. The wing spar was fractured in several locations. No information could be obtained from the cockpit instruments.

The propeller remained attached to the engine at the crankshaft flange, and the engine remained attached to its mounts. One propeller blade exhibited slight s-bending and chordwise scratching; the second blade was relatively undamaged. 

The engine was rotated by hand and continuity of the valve and drivetrain was confirmed. Thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders. The carburetor was separated from the engine and sustained thermal damage. The float bowl was absent of fuel, and both metal floats were damaged. The magnetos and engine-driven fuel pump were significantly fire damaged and could not be tested further. The spark plugs were removed and displayed normal wear.

Disassembly and detailed examination of the engine's internal components revealed that the crankshaft was undamaged; however, all of the bearings displayed radial scoring. The tappet faces corresponding to the intake valves of all 4 cylinders displayed spalling, and the corresponding camshaft lobes were significantly worn. 




A passenger in a plane that crashed into a Hawthorne condominium complex was identified Monday as a 90-year-old Century City resident.

Aron Rappoport died in the 5:10 p.m. crash Friday in the 4500 block of Broadway, just west of the airport. The name of the pilot, an instructor, was not released.

The plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Hawthorne Municipal Airport.

FAA records show Rappoport had a private pilot’s license with ratings land single-engine and multiengine planes, fly on instruments and fly a glider.

The plane was based at Hawthorne Municipal Airport.




HAWTHORNE, Calif. (KABC) -- Two people were killed after a small plane crashed into a two-story townhouse in Hawthorne on Friday, according to officials.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department said a single-engine plane crashed into a townhouse in the 4600 block of Broadway.

A small plane hits an apartment killing 2 people on board. No one was home at the time.

Fire officials said two people, who were in the plane, were found dead at the scene.

A fire sparked, but has since been knocked down, the fire department stated.

Two units in the townhouse were impacted and all the occupants who lived there were not home at the time of the crash, according to fire officials.

"We all heard a big boom," Delano Beckles, who lives next door to one of the units that was hit. "They thought it was an earthquake, but I thought one of the trees fell out here."

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was a Grumman American AA-1B. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

Story and video: http://abc7.com



A small plane crashed into a two-story townhouse complex building in Hawthorne today, killing the two people aboard the aircraft.

The crash was reported at about 5:12 p.m. in the 4600 block of Broadway, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Gustavo Medina.

The crash caused a fire in one of units, which was extinguished by firefighters in about 11 minutes, Medina said. Another unit sustained some cosmetic damage to its exterior, he said. 

"We are getting our search and rescue team out there to assess the stability of the structure — to make sure it's safe — and a further, thorough assessment just to make sure there's no other victim at this time," Medina said.

The crash scene is less than a mile southwest of Hawthorne Municipal Airport.

Antwahn Nance told KPCC media partner NBC4 that he heard the engine sputtering as the plane flew at a low altitude. He said he rushed to the townhouse when he heard the crash, but when he got closer the plane was engulfed in flames.

"Everybody was outside their apartments and tried to offer assistance, but there was nothing anybody could do. It was too hot," Nance said.

The aircraft was a Grumman American AA-1B, according to Allen Kenitzer of the Federal Aviation Administration, which will investigate the crash along with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Original article can be found here: http://www.scpr.org









(CNS/Fox 11) - A small plane crashed into an apartment building in Hawthorne Friday, killing two people who were aboard the aircraft.
  
The crash was reported at 5:11 p.m. in the 4600 block of Broadway, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
  
Two people were confirmed dead at the scene, but no one on the ground was injured, a dispatcher said.
  
The crash scene is less than a mile from Hawthorne Municipal Airport.

The aircraft was a Grumman American AA-1B, according to Allen Kenitzer of the Federal Aviation Administration, which will investigate the crash along with the National Transportation Safety Board.

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


Aron Rappoport, 90, of Century City was one of two people killed on June 10 when the plane he was a passenger in crashed into a Hawthorne condominium complex.

The pilot, an instructor, was the only other person on the plane. He was also killed in the crash but his name has not yet been released.

The light plane – a Grunman American AA-1B – crashed at 5:12 p.m. on the 4500 block of Broadway, two miles west of Hawthorne Municipal Airport shortly after takeoff.

The aircraft slammed into two units in the complex and caught fire but the fire was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported on the ground, according to fire officials.

Rappoport had a private pilot’s license with ratings to land single-engine and multi-engine planes, according to FAA records.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Rappoport’s Jewish funeral service will take place at Groman Eden Mortuary in Mission Hills.

According to an obituary notice, the service will be private and in lieu of flowers the family has asked mourners to make a donation in Aron’s memory to the California Jazz Foundation: californiajazzfoundation.org.
The following obituary was posted by his family:

An 18-year-old Aron Rappoport enlisted in the United States Army-Air Force on June 2, 1944. Private First Class Rappoport spent most of his service working on, and around, airplanes. He was Honorably Discharged at the conclusion of the Second World War, but his passion for planes and aviation lasted a lifetime. Aron attended UCLA, and graduated in the class of 1948, with a Bachelor’s of Administration degree. He would go on to a respected and successful career in commercial finance. When he wasn’t working hard in the office, he was traveling the globe with his friends and family; enjoying skiing, sailing, traveling to National Parks, and of course, jazz.

Aron is survived by his children, Steven (Katharine) Rappoport, Michael (Michelle) Rappoport, and Lisa (Christopher) King; his grandchildren, Tristin D’Andrea, Adam Rappoport, Geoffrey Rappoport, Cameron King, Aaron Rappoport, and Samantha Rappoport; and his dear friends.

He will be forever in our hearts!

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