Friday, June 10, 2016

No final report on 2014 air show death: Yakovlev YAK-55M, N176FD

Kathryn's Report:

Bill Cowden poses with his aerobatics plane on Sunday morning June 01, 2014 at the Stevens Point Air Show, a few hours before the plane crashed.

STEVENS POINT - The final report on the crash that killed a 2014 Stevens Point Air Show pilot died is not complete as the city prepares this weekend for its first air show since the accident.

Bill Cowden, a pilot from Menomonie, died June 1, 2014, during the Stevens Point Air Show when his plane spiraled to the ground and crashed in the trees during an aerobatic performance. Although accident investigation reports on such crashes are typically complete 12 to 18 months after the incident, according to National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway, the final report on Cowden's accident is not yet finished.

A preliminary report on the accident found there was nothing wrong with the plane mechanically that would have prevented it from flying normally.

Holloway said he could not say when the final report would be ready but that he expects it will be finished by the end of this year. He said accident investigations can take longer than the typical time frame because of how many investigations staff are completing.

Sunday's air show will include a moment of silence for Cowden, said Dana Stutesman, vice president of the Stevens Point Pilot's Association.

The show will be similar in structure to the 2014 event, she said. There will be a comedy performance, as well as four aerobatic acts and planes will also be on display, she said.

Jason Draheim, the city's airport manager, said the show will include a formation team.

"(They) will be flying formation aerobatics in a very graceful, beautiful show," he said. "The air show is just a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase what an awesome tool we have here in the Stevens Point airport."

Air show details

When: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Mattson Field at the Stevens Point Airport, 4501 Highway 66, Stevens Point.

Original article can be found here:

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA266
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 01, 2014 in Stevens Point, WI
Aircraft: YAKOVLEV YAK-55M, registration: N176FD
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 June 1, 2014, about 1222 central daylight time, a Yakovlev model YAK-55M airplane, N176FD, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during an aerobatic flight over the Stevens Point Municipal Airport (STE), Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local airshow demonstration flight that departed about 1220.

The flight team manager, who also provided the public-announcement during the accident flight, reported that the accident flight began with the airplane rolling inverted shortly after liftoff, followed by a shallow inverted climb past show-center. The airplane then rolled upright before entering a 90-degree turn away from show-center and the crowd. The airplane continued to climb, while on the opposite heading used for the takeoff, before it turned back to the runway heading and reentered the aerobatic box. The airplane then rolled inverted before it entered a 45-degree dive toward show-center. The airplane then completed several descending aileron rolls before it rolled wings level and entered a near vertical climb. At the apex of the climb/loop, the airplane entered an inverted flat spin.

Ground-based video footage showed that the airplane completed 3-1/2 rotations in the inverted flat spin before it entered a near vertical dive. The video footage then showed a momentary increase in airplane pitch, achieving a positive deck angle of about 20-degrees, before the airplane entered a rapid left roll. The airplane then entered a nose-down left descending spiral into terrain.

A postaccident examination established that the airplane impacted terrain in a near vertical attitude. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to their respective cockpit controls. The engine was located in a 2-1/2 feet deep impact crater and remained partially connected to the firewall. Three engine cylinders had partially separated from the crankcase, which prevented the engine from being rotated. After removing several cylinders, an internal examination did not reveal any mechanical discontinuities within the engine drivetrain. The No. 1 magneto exhibited impact damage that prevented a functional test. The No. 2 magneto provided a spark on all leads when rotated. All three propeller blades exhibited damage consistent with the engine producing power at the time of impact. The postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any mechanical anomalies that would have prevented normal operation. A handheld GPS and GoPro video camera were recovered from the wreckage and were sent to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Vehicle Recorder Laboratory for readout.

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