Sunday, June 19, 2016

Piper PA-23-150 Apache, N1270P: Fatal accident occurred June 19, 2016 near Hayward Executive Airport (KHWD, Alameda County, California


Robert Pursel
January 23, 1956 - June 19, 2016 
Robert's passions were his family, flying his airplane and spending time in Maui.


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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oakland, California
Lycoming Engines; Phoenix, Arizona
Piper Aircraft Company; Chino, California

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


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


http://registry.faa.gov/N1270P

Location: Hayward, CA 
Accident Number: WPR16FA126
Date & Time: 06/19/2016, 1149 PDT
Registration: N1270P
Aircraft: PIPER PA 23-150
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On June 19, 2016, about 1149 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-23-150, N1270P, was destroyed after colliding with a commuter railcar wash building during an approach to land at Hayward Executive Airport (HWD), Hayward, California. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. 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 and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The personal flight departed HWD about 1035.

According to a witness, the pilot completed a series of high speed taxi tests for about 25 minutes before he departed on the accident flight. A witness stated that he observed the accident airplane complete the taxi tests on runway 28L on the morning of the accident flight. The airplane was subsequently refueled at a self-serve fuel kiosk and then taxied to the airport run-up area. The witness remarked that the engines did not sound "synchronized" during the run-up.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar data was plotted using a third party mapping program that featured a satellite view of the terrain. The data showed the airplane depart HWD to the south before it transitioned east over a mountain and then north. The airplane completed a reverse course during its return flight to HWD. According to an Air Traffic Control report furnished by the FAA, at 1145:06, the pilot contacted HWD tower for a landing clearance about 10.5 nautical miles (nm) southeast of the airport. The pilot was instructed to proceed to a straight in for runway 28L and to advise the controller when he was three-miles from the airport, on final approach. At 1147:30, and about 6.5 nm from the airport, and while approaching several grass fields to his right, the pilot notified the tower controller that he was experiencing "difficulty" with his left engine and could not maintain altitude. At the request of the controller, the pilot reported that he was the only person onboard and had approximately sixty gallons of fuel remaining. Seconds later, he informed the controller that he would "not be able to make it to the airport." The controller then asked the pilot if he observed any landing sites in his field of vision. At 1148:51, the pilot informed the controller that he could see a field near a set of Bay Area Rapid Transit commuter train tracks, which is where he planned to attempt a forced landing. Seconds before the pilot reported the landing site to the controller, a witness, who was about one-half mile east of the accident site, observed the airplane enter a steep left bank turn, to a westerly heading. According to the radar and map data, the airplane passed beyond the grass fields at about 1148:33 and seconds later it entered an approximate 45° left turn. The airplane subsequently disappeared from the witnesses view and approximately 30 seconds later he heard the accident, which was immediately followed by a plume of dark smoke.

Nearby surveillance video showed the airplane enter a slight left wing low attitude, which gradually increased as the airplane traversed a set of railroad tracks. The forward fuselage and right wing impacted the east wall of a small building. A mist covered the right wing, empennage, and tail, as they fell to the ground and a postcrash fire ensued.

Eyewitness Interviews

A total of three eyewitnesses were interviewed; two of which observed the airplane flying inbound to land and another that observed the airplane moments before it impacted the rail yard.

The first witness (Witness 1 on the map) was located near the airplane's inbound leg, approximately 9 nautical miles from HWD. Witness 2, was located approximately 10 miles from HWD in proximity of the airplane's outbound leg. Witness 3, was located one half mile from the accident site in a nearby graveyard. Please refer to the map below for a graphical depiction of the witness locations.

Witness 1 reported that she heard the airplane and an abnormal sound from inside her home. She went outside and observed an airplane approaching her house from a group of hills located to the east. The airplane appeared to be losing altitude and the engine made a "sputtering sound," which she also described as "cutting out." The sound repeated when the airplane reached her property and again seconds later after it passed her home.

Witness 2 stated that he was working in his yard all morning and initially observed a red and white colored airplane on a southeastern heading at approximately 1,750 ft. He never observed any smoke, but heard a sound that resembled an engine "backfiring." The airplane subsequently made a left turn and proceeded eastbound and disappeared behind a group of hills. About 30 minutes later he observed the same airplane northeast of his house flying towards the airport. The witness reported hearing more sounds that resembled an engine "popping" and "backfiring." He added that he did not observe any smoke, foreign object debris, or fluids coming from the airplane, but further remarked that the engine "backfiring" sounds were much louder during the airplane's inbound leg.

According to Witness 3, he observed an airplane flying abnormally low over a group of houses before noon on the day of the accident. The witness stated that he observed the airplane in a wings level descent for a few seconds before it suddenly entered a steep left turn, with the right wing approximately 70o to the horizon. The airplane then disappeared behind a residential area. Approximately 10 seconds later he heard a loud impact sound; shortly thereafter plumes of smoke emerged from the airplane's direction.. He added that he may have been downwind of the accident because he smelled fuel burning. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor
Age: 60, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/13/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/15/2015
Flight Time: 2191 hours (Total, all aircraft), 17 hours (Total, this make and model), 1.4 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

According to the flight instructor who administered the pilot's most recent flight review, the flight was conducted in March 2015 in the pilot's BE60 airplane and included two simulated left engine failures. The first simulated engine failure took place during an instrument landing system approach. The instructor failed the left engine during the approach, and the pilot completed the engine out procedure and continued the approach successfully. During the simulated engine failure, the instructor noted the pilot's yaw control as "good" and his descent as "smooth and right on." A subsequent simulated engine failure took place at 5,000 ft when the flight instructor reduced the left engine manifold pressure to 13 in Hg. He then asked the pilot to complete a 45° turn and hold his altitude, but the airplane was unable to accommodate the altitude demand due to the combination of a low power setting and higher than standard rate turn. During both simulated engine failures, the pilot successfully kept the airspeed above minimum controllable airspeed (Vmc). 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N1270P
Model/Series: PA 23-150
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1955
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 23-300
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/15/2015, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3501 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 17 Hours
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4076 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320 SERIES
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1955 and registered to the pilot on September 2, 2015. The airplane was powered by two Lycoming O-320-A, normally-aspirated, direct drive, air cooled, 150 hp engines. The family provided the original aircraft logbooks, which were comprised of service information that spanned from May 1986 to July 2015. An initial record in the earliest engine and airframe logbooks stated that the first three entries had been re-constructed as the logbooks were lost. A review of the logbooks revealed that the airplane's most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on July 15, 2015 at which time the left engine had accumulated a total of 4,051 flight hours, and the right engine had accumulated 4,059 flight hours.

At the time of its most recent service, the left engine had accumulated approximately 1,955 hours since its engine's most recent overhaul as indicated by a recent entry in the engine logbook. Although records of the left and right engine overhauls could not be located in the available aircraft records, a logbook entry stated that the right engine had accrued 1,957 hours since major overhaul at the time of the last 100-hour inspection. The logbooks did not contain any record of a camshaft lobe inspection or camshaft replacement.

The airplane hobbs meter was not recovered and the airplane total time at the time of the accident was computed using the right engine tachometer time. Based on the pilot's 17 hours of accumulated time in the airplane after he purchased it, the airplane's total time was estimated to be about 4,076 hours, at the time of the accident.

According to records furnished by a refueling station at HWD, the pilot had purchased fuel from their self-service facility 11 times in the previous 10 months. The records showed that the pilot last purchased fuel for the accident airplane in September 2015, in the amount of 23.4 gallons. A witness reported seeing the pilot taxi to the airport's self-serve fuel kiosk; however, the fuel history did not show a record of the pilot purchasing fuel on the day of the accident. According to the fuel service facility, they did not receive any reports of water contamination from customers who obtained 100 low lead aviation grade gasoline from their self-service fuel kiosk on the day of the accident.

The pilot's logbook showed that he flew the accident airplane on May 1, 2016, which correlates to a fuel purchase in the amount of about 15 gallons of 100 low lead gasoline that took place the same day at Nut Tree Airport (VCB), Vacaville, California. Prior to that, the pilot purchased about 28 gallons of 100 low lead gasoline on September 27, 2015.

Textron Lycoming Service Bulletin SB301B – Valve Maintenance Procedures

A service bulletin was issued by Textron Lycoming on February 18, 1977 entitled "Service Bulletin No. 301B" (SB301B). The service bulletin contained maintenance procedures and service limitations for intake and exhaust valves.

Textron Lycoming Service Instruction SI1009AZ – Recommended Time Between Overhaul Periods

According to "Table 1" of service instruction SI009AZ, the recommended time between overhaul period for the Lycoming O-320 engine is 2,000 hours. The service instruction further states that "all engines that do not accumulate the hourly period of TBO specified in this publication are recommended to be overhauled in the twelfth year."

PA-23 Emergency Procedure for Feathering a Propeller

A procedure to feather the propeller of an inoperative engine was included in the airplane's aeronautical flight manual (AFM). According to the AFM,

Throttle "CLOSED".
Prop Control "FEATHERED". PROP CANNOT BE FEATHERED UNDER 700 RPM.
Mixture control "IDLE CUT-OFF".
Ignition switches "OFF".
Electric fuel pump (if in use) "OFF").
Main valve "OFF".

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: HWD, 52 ft msl
Observation Time:1152 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 330°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 8°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots, 280°
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: HAYWARD, CA (HWD)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: HAYWARD, CA (HWD)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1035 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

The 1152 recorded weather observation at HWD included wind 280° true at 11 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 27° C, dew point 8° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.06 inches of mercury.

According to a representative of APP Jet Center, he reported that the airport received significant levels of rain during the winter of 2016. In February, the rain levels resulted in an overflow of the airport's drainage ditch.

The investigation was unable to confirm if the airplane was parked outside between the time it was purchased and the accident flight.

Airport Information

Airport: HAYWARD EXECUTIVE (HWD)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation:52 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  37.605556, -122.035278

Initial examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge revealed that the airplane came to rest at the base of a fiberglass railroad car wash building, about 5 nm southeast of HWD. All major structural components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site, which was contained within an area about 35 ft long and 25 ft wide. The main fuselage came to rest inverted on a heading of 095° magnetic and was destroyed by fire. With the exception of some thermal damage, the empennage was in one piece and remained connected to the fuselage through the airplane's rudder control cables. The right wing was destroyed by fire and its corresponding engine was inverted and covered in soot. The left wing was co-located with the main wreckage in a near vertical position, at rest against the southeastern end of the building and exhibited an odor of fuel near the left wingtip. Both sets of propeller blades remained attached to their respective hubs; the left engine propeller blades were in the feathered position and did not display any damage. The right engine propeller blades were in a low pitch position and displayed nicks, gouges, and tip curling.

Airframe Examination

Left Wing

Left aileron control continuity was confirmed from the left aileron bell crank to the wing root where the cables had been cut by recovery personnel. The rubber seal to the inboard left tank fuel cap was rusted and the cap did not form a seal inside the fuel tank ring when installed. The fuel cap rubber seal to the left outboard tank displayed some corrosion and did not form a seal when installed in the fuel tank ring. The left fuel selector valve displayed ¾ inches of space between the lever and the valve. According to the manufacturer, this position is consistent with an auxiliary tank setting. A trace amount of fuel was drained from the left engine gascolator into a plastic container that had been cleaned and dried. The fuel odor and appearance resembled 100LL aviation grade gasoline; however, a SAR-GEL fuel purity test indicated that the fuel was contaminated with water. The left wing fuel boost pump was not recovered.

Right Wing

The right wing bell crank was damaged by fire, but remained intact and attached to the primary aileron and balance cables. The right aileron cable was continuous from the bell crank to the chain, which had fracture signatures consistent with overload separation.

The right wing fuel boost pump was disassembled and the gasket and internal components displayed carbon coloring consistent with exposure to fire. The pump was void of fuel and the fuel screen was found free of debris.

Fuselage

One arm from the control T bar assembly separated at the T section and the assembly was damaged by fire; however, the remaining three sprockets were intact. A portion of elevator control tube remained attached to the tube stem.

Continuity of the rudder assembly was traced from the rudder torque tube through a control cable located on the right side of the airplane to the rudder flight control surface. A rudder control cable on the opposing side was traced from the rudder to the cockpit; however, the cable had separated from the torque tube arm, which had separated from the torque tube.

The flap actuator measured approximately 20 inches, which is consistent with partial deployment of the flaps. According to the airplane manufacturer, an actuator measurement of 18.35 inches corresponds with a full flap extended position and 25.50 inches corresponds with a full flap retracted position. While the flap actuator rod displayed significant fire damage on the fore and aft ends, the intermediate section was shiny in appearance with only some blue discoloration. 

Elevator continuity was traced from the elevators to a fractured control tube near the aft fuselage.

Empennage

The rudder trim jackscrew displayed approximately 1 inch of exposed threads. According to the manufacturer, this measurement is consistent with a neutral trim position.

The elevator trim displayed approximately 17 threads, which correlates to a near full nose up trim position. However, the elevator trim cables were loosely fixed to the trim drum, which indicates that the trim jackscrew may have moved during the accident sequence.

Engine Examination

Left Engine

Mechanical continuity of the engine was confirmed from the propeller throughout the valve train to the accessory section when the propeller was rotated by hand. Thumb compression and suction were established on each of the engine's four cylinders and the valve train moved in the proper firing order. An examination of each cylinder's internal combustion chamber revealed no evidence of foreign object ingestion or detonation.

A magneto synchronizer confirmed the magneto breaker points opened at 25o below top dead center. Both the left and right magnetos were timed within 1o of each other. The magnetos were then removed from their respective mounting pads to facilitate a magneto examination. Hand rotation of each drive produced spark at each of the four plug leads.

The top and bottom spark plugs were secured in their respective position and undamaged. As each plug was cross-checked against the Champion Spark Plug "Check-A-Plug" chart AV-27, the plugs were oil-soaked, but displayed coloration consistent with normal operation.

The carburetor was attached to the engine accessory case at the mounting flange, and the throttle/mixture controls were secured to their respective controls arms at the carburetor. The carburetor fuel screen was free of debris and the carburetor floats were intact. Trace amounts of residual fuel were discovered in the carburetor fuel bowl and in the accelerator pump. A subsequent SAR-GEL water indicating paste test confirmed the presence of water contamination in both cavities. A white powdery residue was observed on the accelerator pump plunger, consistent with corrosion.

Disassembly of the left engine driven fuel pump revealed trace amounts of residual fuel, which exhibited an odor and appearance of 100LL aviation gasoline. A subsequent SAR-GEL test confirmed that the pump had been contaminated by water. The internal chambers to the fuel pump exhibited significant corrosion signatures consistent with long term exposure to water. Additionally, the pump valves and backing plate displayed a white powdery substance consistent with corrosion.

Right Engine

The right engine and accessories displayed significant fire damage. Mechanical continuity of the engine was established from the crankshaft through the valve train to the accessory section when the propeller was rotated by hand. Thumb compression and suction was achieved for each cylinder; however, a borescope inspection revealed that the intake valve rocker arm for each cylinder displayed little movement as the valve train was rotated. The exhaust rocker arms moved normally and the pushrods did not exhibit any bending.

An internal examination was achieved by drilling holes through the top of the engine case material in-line with the rotational plane of each connecting rod. Subsequent inspection of the camshaft with a lighted borescope revealed that the intake camlobe for cylinder nos. 3 & 4 were concentric in shape, consistent with long term wear. The intake camlobe for cylinder nos. 1 & 2 had been worn approximately 90% and had formed a nearly concentric shape. The corresponding tappet faces displayed significant spalling on the subject camlobes.

Both magnetos remained attached to their respective mounting pads. Magneto to engine timing could not be established and the magnetos could not be functionally tested as they had been thermally damaged due to postcrash fire.

The top spark plugs were secured in their respective positions and had been thermally damaged. Although undamaged, the ground electrode wear could not be determined as each plug displayed a varying amount of coloration due to the thermal effects of the post impact ground fire.

Medical And Pathological Information
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, Oakland, California. The autopsy report indicated the cause of death as "extensive blunt trauma."

A toxicological test on specimens recovered from the pilot was performed by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory. A carboxyhemoglobin saturation test revealed no evidence of carbon monoxide in the pilot's cavity blood. The pilot's toxicology results were negative for ethanol, but positive for ibuprofen in his urine.

Tests And Research

Radar Data

FAA radar data captured the airplane's position, altitude, and airspeed, at a sampling rate of approximately 5 seconds. According to the data, the airplane departed on a local flight at approximately 1035. During its return to HWD, the pilot initiated a descent from approximately 2,000 ft, at a rate of about 450 ft per minute (fpm). From the beginning of his approach to the time of impact, the airplane's rate of descent fluctuated between 450 fpm and 700 fpm. As the airplane began its left turn in its final movements of flight, the airplane's groundspeed was recorded at 59 knots (about 68 mph) at an altitude of 375 ft mean sea level (msl). The airplane never exceeded this groundspeed during its subsequent descent to impact. Additionally, the airplane's groundspeed reached a minimum of 52 knots (60 mph), at an approximate height of about 225 ft msl (about 173 feet above ground level), which was approximately 20 seconds before the last radar return and about the time of the accident.

The manufacturer's published minimum control speed (Vmc single engine) is 85 mph.

Additional Information

According to the Airplane Flying Handbook, published by the FAA,

Vmc is defined as the "Minimum control speed with the critical engine inoperative." Marked with a red radial line on most airspeed indicators. The minimum speed at which directional control can be maintained under a very specific set of circumstances outlined in 14 CFR part 23, Airworthiness Standards.

Engine inoperative flight with wings level and ball centered requires large rudder input towards the operative engine. The result is a moderate sideslip towards the inoperative engine. Climb performance will be reduced by the moderate sideslip. With wings level, Vmc will be significantly higher than published as there is no horizontal component of lift available to help the rudder combat asymmetrical thrust.

The publication further remarks that a single engine failure in a twin engine airplane will result in "high drag, large control surface deflections required, and rudder and fin opposition due to sideslip."
  
NTSB Identification: WPR16FA126
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 19, 2016 in Hayward, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 23-150, registration: N1270P
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 19, 2016, about 1149 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-23-150, N1270P, was destroyed after colliding with a rail car wash building during an approach to land at Hayward Executive Airport (HWD), Hayward, California. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to the pilot and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The personal flight departed HWD at 1035. 

According to HWD air traffic control personnel, the pilot contacted the facility for landing about 9 nautical miles (nm) southeast of the airport. After issuing instructions and advising the pilot to expect a straight in approach for runway 28L, the pilot reported a loss of power to his left engine and stated that he would not be able to reach the airport. The tower controller suggested a road as a possible landing site, but the pilot elected to attempt a forced landing to a field near a group of rail tracks. A witness, who was about one half mile east of the accident site, observed the airplane enter a steep left banking turn to a westerly heading. Approximately 10 seconds later he heard the accident, which was immediately followed by a plume of dark smoke.

Nearby surveillance video showed the airplane enter a left wing low attitude, which gradually increased as the airplane traversed a set of rail tracks. The forward fuselage and right wing impacted the east wall of a small building. A mist covered the right wing, empennage, and tail as they fell to the ground and a postcrash fire ensued. 

Initial examination of the accident by the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge revealed that the airplane came to rest at the base of a fiberglass rail car wash building about 5 nautical miles from HWD. All major airplane sections were accounted for at the accident site, which was contained within an area 35 feet long and 25 feet wide. The main fuselage came to rest inverted on a heading of 095 degrees magnetic and was destroyed by fire. With the exception of some thermal damage, the empennage was in one piece that remained connected to the fuselage through the airplane's control cables. The right wing was destroyed by fire and its corresponding engine was inverted and covered in soot. The left wing was co-located with the main wreckage in a near vertical position, at rest against the southeastern end of the building. An odor of fuel was detected near the left wingtip. Both sets of propeller blades remained attached to their respective hubs; the left engine blades were in the feathered position and were not damaged. The right engine propeller blades were in a low pitch position and displayed nicks, gouges, and tip curling. 


A wreckage examination will take place at a later date.


HAYWARD -- The pilot who died Sunday when his plane crashed into a BART train yard appeared to maneuver the plane away from a neighborhood and may have saved several homes, according to a witness who said he saw the plane moments before its impact.

The Alameda County Coroner's Office on Tuesday identified the pilot as 60-year-old Robert Pursel Jr., of Fremont. Pursel was the registered owner of the Piper PA-23-150 that went down around 2:10 p.m. at BART's Hayward yard. The aircraft was registered out of Wailuku, Hawaii on Maui, according to a Federal Aviation Administration registry.

Pursel worked in technology since the mid-1990s and was a former director of investor relations at MagnaChip Semiconductor, a Korean-based manufacturer of semiconductors, according his page on the LinkedIn social network.

On Sunday, he flew in low while apparently heading to the Fremont airport. The crash happened around four miles east of the Hayward Executive Airport, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

A San Jose man who was at a nearby Hayward market on Sunday afternoon said it appeared the pilot was trying to avoid crashing into homes.

"It wasn't sputtering," said Tom Lynch, 37. "It looked almost as it was on a final approach for landing but turning and trying to avoid houses. He banked a couple of times and went around structures. I think the guy is a hero."

Lynch said he saw smoke rise from the crash and the plane caught fire.

Pursel died at the scene, authorities said. They didn't release any information about what may have caused the crash or confirm that the pilot appeared to turn to avoid a residential area.

Pursel, who has worked in technology since the mid-1990s, was a former director of investor relations for San Jose-based Atmel Corp., and handled investor relations and business analysis for Milpitas-based LSI Logic, his LinkedIn page.


Source:  http://www.eastbaytimes.com

HAYWARD (CBS SF) — The pilot of a small plane died after his plane went down on BART tracks in Hayward Sunday, prompting BART to briefly halt service in the area.

The incident was first reported at 11:57 a.m., after fire officials received a report that a Piper PA-23-150 Apache went down near 150 Sandoval Way, according to Hayward fire Capt. Don Nichelson.

The plane went down on tracks near the Hayward Yard, causing a small fire.

No other injuries were reported, Nichelson said.

BART initially stopped service between the South Hayward station and the Fremont station on the Fremont line, according to BART officials.

As of 2:30 p.m., the Union City and Fremont stations have reopened, with a 10-minute delay in the Fremont and Richmond directions, BART officials said.

The incident comes ahead of a major sporting event Sunday at the Oracle Arena in Oakland where thousands of basketball fans are expected at the seventh NBA Finals game between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers at 5 p.m.

Story and audio:  http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com




HAYWARD -- A pilot died and BART service was interrupted hours before Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Sunday after a small plane crashed on its tracks, authorities said.

There were no reports of injuries to anyone on the ground, including BART passengers or staff.

The Piper PA-23-150 Apache went down for unknown reasons about four miles east of the Hayward Executive airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said. 

The plane crashed around 12:05 p.m. on BART's transfer tracks at its Hayward Yard, spokeswoman Denise Gonzales said, near the area of Whipple Road and Railroad Avenue.

The location is on the border of Hayward and Union City.

Gonzales confirmed the pilot's death. 

Nobody else was on the plane, which caught fire after the crash.

Fire crews from Hayward and Alameda County put it out.

BART stopped its service between the South Hayward and Fremont stations on the Fremont line. 

Trains headed north from Fremont and Union City were stopped at South Hayward and unable to make it to the Coliseum station, the landing spot for fans going to Oracle Arena to see the Golden State Warriors play the Cleveland Cavaliers in a winner-takes-all-showdown for the NBA crown.

The agency made an AC Transit bus bridge available between the stations but did not say how long they think the stations will be closed.


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











At least one person has died after a small plane went down and landed on BART tracks in Hayward on Sunday, prompting BART to halt service in the area.

At about 11:57 a.m., fire officials first received a report that a Piper PA-23-150 Apache went down near 150 Sandoval Way, causing a small fire, according to Hayward fire Capt. Don Nichelson.

Aside from the fatality, no other injuries have been reported, Nichelson said.

BART had closed the Union City and the Fremont Bart stations, but they were reopened after 2 p.m. BART is still expecting 10 minute delays between the South Hayward Station and the Fremont Station on the Fremont line, according to BART officials.

BART is asking passengers to find alternate means of transportation and suggests passengers take the AC Transit Buss line 99, which will take them between the South Hayward and Fremont stations.

Original article can be found here: http://abc7news.com

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