Monday, July 25, 2016

Yakovlev Yak-11, Yak Flight LP, N5940: Fatal accident occurred July 25, 2016 at Allegheny County Airport (KAGC), West Mifflin, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report:


FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Allegheny PFSDO-03

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA269
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 25, 2016 in West Mifflin, PA
Aircraft: YAKOVLEV YAK11, registration: N5940
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 July 25, 2016 about 0945 eastern daylight time, a Yakovlev Yak-11; N5940, was substantially damaged by fire after landing, at Allegheny County Airport (AGC) West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of Title14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which originated at Chester County Airport (MQS), Coatesville, Pennsylvania about 0830.

The accident occurred during the first leg of a multiple leg cross country flight to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) fly-in and convention (EAA Airventure Oshkosh), which was being held at Wittman Regional Airport (OSH), Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

According to preliminary air traffic control information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and security camera video, the pilot first made contact with the airport control tower at AGC when he was approximately 20 miles to the east of the airport for landing. The pilot was then directed to "proceed straight in" for runway 28. The pilot was then cleared to land on Runway 28 at AGC.

The pilot acknowledged the landing clearance and advised that he would be going to "Corporate Air" and would need "progressive" taxi instructions. During the landing, the airplane appeared to touchdown approximately 2,000 feet down the runway. The pilot was then advised by the tower controller to "make any left turn" and to contact ground control. The airplane then rolled past taxiway "C." The pilot then asked if he could turn around on the runway. He was given permission to do so, and to contact ground control. The pilot then advised he was switching frequencies to ground control. The airplane was then observed in a left turn. Moments later, as the airplane continued to turn to the left, the airplane's right side became visible to the personnel in the control tower, and the ground controller advised the pilot that "you have a fire under your wing." At this point, the airplane continued in the left turn until it traveled off the right side of the paved surface of the runway and rolled through the airport infield until it came to rest near taxiway "G." Smoke and flames were then observed to increase in size from the right side of the airplane.

After the airplane came to rest, the pilot egressed and was observed standing near the airport windsock by airport personnel. He was then transported by golf cart to a nearby hangar where a helicopter emergency service operator was based. Paramedics began treatment of the pilot who had visible thermal injuries, had not been wearing his fire retardant flight suit, and was clad only in shorts and a T-shirt. He was then transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries approximately 6 days later.

Examination of the runway and accident site revealed that after the airplane traveled past taxiway "C," and entered the left turn, it continued to turn left for approximately 294 degrees until it traveled off the right side of the runway pavement, on a magnetic heading of approximately 346 degrees. The airplane then traveled across a storm drain, and across the airport infield for approximately 612 feet, before coming to rest.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the majority of the metal and fabric covering of the fuselage had been consumed by fire, and the right wing, and empennage displayed evidence of thermal damage. Vertical soot trails were evident throughout the wreckage along with numerous areas of vertically oriented solidified rivulets of metal alloy. Further examination also indicated extensive fire damage in the area of the aft inboard trailing edge of the right wing, near a section of "L" shaped alloy channel mounted along the wing root fuselage juncture, near the right side of the fuel system engine feeder tank.

Compression damage was also discovered in the area of the forward section of the right wing, inboard of the right main landing gear, with portions of the airplane's tubular frame displaying displacement to the right side of the airplane's centerline, along with bending of some sections of the tubing which made up the airplane's tubular frame.

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the flight control surfaces, to the burned out section of the cockpit. The mixture control was full rich. The fuel shutoff lever was approximately 3 inches forward of the aft (shutoff) stop, the throttle was full aft (idle), and the propeller was in the full forward (full rpm) position.

All three blades of the propeller displayed minimal damage and no evidence of a propeller strike. Both magnetos were intact on the front of the engine, and the rear of the engine displayed minimal thermal exposure near several openings in the firewall.

Examination of the landing gear system revealed that the main landing gear were in the down and locked position. The brake disks showed no indications of overheating, pitting, or grooving. The brake calipers were intact, and there was no sign of hydraulic leakage. The tailwheel was functional, and undamaged.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land, and instrument airplane, and held a letter of authorization from the FAA to operate the Yak-3, Yak-9, and Yak-11, as pilot-in-command under visual flight rules. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on April 5, 2016. He reported on that date, that he had accrued approximately 3,100 total flight hours.

According to FAA and sales records, the airplane was manufactured in 1952 and was operated by the Egyptian Air Force from 1952 through the 1980s. During a rebuild in 1990, the 700 horsepower, Shvetsov Ash-21, 7-cylinder radial engine, and VIS-111-V20 two-blade constant speed propeller, were replaced with a 1,350 horsepower, Pratt & Whitney R1830-75, 14-cylinder, radial engine and a Hamilton Standard 3-bladed constant speed propeller. On December 5, 1990, the airplane was classified by the FAA as experimental, and a special airworthiness certificate was issued for the airplane in the racing, crew training, and exhibition category.

The wreckage was retained by the NTSB for further examination.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Ira Saligman, 53, aviator, philanthropist, investor

Ira Saligman’s passion for flying was realized when he became a naval aviator. After the Persian Gulf War, he pursued philanthropic causes. 

Ira M. Saligman, 53, of Wayne, an aviator, philanthropist, and real estate investor, died Sunday, July 31, of injuries he had sustained six days earlier when his vintage aircraft caught fire as it landed in West Mifflin, Pa.

Mr. Saligman got out of the airplane at Allegheny County Airport, but died in the Mercy burn unit at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The cause of the fire in the World War II-era plane, as it pulled to a stop on the tarmac, was unknown. Mr. Saligman was en route to an air show in Oshkosh, Wis., where he intended to meet his pilot friends.

Reared in Gladwyne, Mr. Saligman attended the Haverford School, but graduated from Harriton High School. He earned a bachelor's degree from George Washington University and a master's degree in business administration from Emory University in Atlanta.

Mr. Saligman's passion was flying airplanes. After college, he enlisted in the Navy, which sent him to its officer training school. His dream came true when he was accepted at flight training school, and after three years, received his wings as a naval aviator.

"The passion of flying permeated his entire life," said friend Jay Leberman. "It was a metaphor for his life - to reach out and look at the sky, to soar above and not be limited by constraints."

When the Persian Gulf War broke out in 1990, he was assigned to the Viking S3 anti-submarine aircraft and flew off the aircraft carrier USS America for the duration of the conflict.

"He was a patriot and served very, very proudly," Leberman said.

After completing his tour of duty, he followed family tradition by entering the real estate business and mimicking his father's devotion to philanthropy in Philadelphia and on behalf of the State of Israel.

He worked for Cynwyd Investments, the family business, before joining the finance and acquisition groups at Preferred Real Estate, where he oversaw the underwriting, leasing, and financing of "difficult to finance" commercial projects.

After the sale of the family business, he began working informally with other family members to invest the proceeds. That effort led to the creation of Saligman Capital in Wayne.

"He was always looking for a new way of doing things. He was very motivated," said sister Laury Saligman.

In the nonprofit world, he served as the chief financial officer for the Robert Saligman Charitable Foundation. The Bala Cynwyd foundation supports Jewish agencies, temples, and education, and provides funding for the arts, health, and human services.

He served as a board member and chairman of the Investment Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Mr. Saligman also served on the board of Federation Housing, a 1,200-unit independent living facility for low-income seniors in Philadelphia.

As word of Mr. Saligman's death spread, the National Museum of American Jewish History purchased an ad in the Inquirer describing him as a longtime trustee and "among the museum's earliest and most steadfast supporters."

"He championed a new initiative to collect and preserve family stories for generations to come," said the ad, signed by Philip Darivoff, board chair, and Ivy Barsky, the museum's CEO.

He was a founding member of the Jewish Federation of Real Estate Professionals. He also was active in Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr, and Atidim, an enrichment program for gifted students in Israel.

"With his quick wit, sense of humor, and extraordinary generosity, Ira touched many lives in Philadelphia and beyond. He will be dearly missed," his family said.

Besides his sister, Mr. Saligman is survived by his wife, Arden Williams Saligman; his mother, Alice; sons Van and Gill; daughter Lila; another sister, Carolyn; and a brother, Peter.

Funeral services were Friday, Aug. 5.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall E., Philadelphia 19106.


A pilot who suffered burns to his body and face following a crash last month at the Allegheny County Airport has succumbed to his injuries.

Ira Saligman, 53, of Wayne died at 11:53 p.m. Sunday in the UPMC Mercy burn unit, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office supervisor.

The Yak-11 propeller airplane Saligman was flying caught fire after landing on Runway 28 at the airport at 9:45 a.m. July 25, the FAA said in a written statement. Allegheny County Airport Authority officials confirmed the plane did not take off from the airport and did not file a flight plan with the airport.

The pilot contacted the airport's tower when he was about 20 miles east of the airport, said Jeff Martinelli, Allegheny County Airport Authority's vice president for customer relations.

“At that point, he indicated that he was just going to land here,” Martinelli said. “There was no indication of any emergency situation whatsoever.”

FAA crews in the airport's control tower first noticed the plane was on fire shortly after it landed and notified the pilot, he said.

The pilot got out of the aircraft before emergency personnel arrived on scene.

West Mifflin No. 3 Volunteer Fire Company firefighters extinguished the fire, and the airport reopened by 11:15 a.m., Martinelli said.


WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) – A pilot suffered some burns Monday morning when his vintage plane burst into flames while landing at the Allegheny County Airport.

According to airport officials, the plane landed around 10 a.m. A cloud of smoke and flames could be seen in the distance from an airplane burning near the airport’s runway.

“Flames and a lot of smoke, and I inquired to others what had happened,” said Cheryl Freedman, a witness.

The fire started in an airplane described as a vintage single-engine, Russian-built World War II YAK plane.

The pilot, who is believed to be from Delaware, was on his way to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.

The pilot radioed the tower saying he was planning to land at the airport and wasn’t having any problems; but when his plane touched down on the runway, the tower noticed smoke was coming from the cockpit.

Freedman says airport rescuers got to the pilot, who was flying alone, after he jumped out of the airplane with severe burns.

“They brought him over pretty quickly to get treatment and my prayers are with the pilot,” she said.

“He was treated on site by EMS for burns to his face and body and then transported to UPMC Mercy,” said Jeff Marinelli, of the Allegheny County Airport Authority.

Eventually, West Mifflin firefighters put the fire out, but the airplane was badly damaged especially in the cockpit area. It was towed to a nearby hangar as part of the investigation by the FAA.

Story and video:

Emergency crews were called to the Allegheny County Airport after a plane caught fire with a pilot inside this morning.

The fire began at 9:50 a.m, just after the World War II-era plane, a single-propeller Yak, landed at the airport. 

The pilot notified the airport that he was going to land when his plane was about 20 minutes away, according to airport spokesperson Jeff Martinelli.

"At that time there was no indication of any type of stress or emergency," Mr. Martinelli said.

"When the plane stopped the tower noticed flames. Our staff responded and shut down the airport for almost an hour."

The pilot escaped the burning aircraft with burns on his face and body. He was then taken to UPMC Mercy.

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