Saturday, July 30, 2016

North American P-51D Mustang, N1451D, Bridgewood Holdings LLC: Fatal accident occurred July 04, 2014 in Durango, Colorado

This picture, taken in April 2014, shows pilot John Earley and flight instructor Michael Schlarb on a training flight in the iconic 1944 World War II fighter plane. It was discovered recently that when the plane crashed on July 4, 2014, killing both men, Earley’s blood tested positive for THC.


Michael Schlarb, CFI


 Levels of marijuana above the legal driving limit were found in the blood of a Durango pilot who crashed a World War II aircraft on July 4, 2014, killing two, a recently-released investigation report from the National Transportation Safety Board found.

“It obviously makes this a whole different type of crash,” said Mona Schlarb, whose husband, Michael, was teaching Durango resident John Earley how to fly the rare and difficult-to-operate aircraft. “This was a terrible chance to take with two lives at stake.”

According to the report, Earley’s blood tested positive for 6.3 nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC, the active compound in marijuana. The legal driving limit for THC levels in Colorado is 5 nanograms.

Also, a total of 30.8 nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THC-COOH, an inactive metabolite of marijuana) were found in Earley’s blood. Jann Smith, La Plata County Coroner, said that level usually indicates the drug was used fairly recently before the blood was tested.

Michael Schlarb’s blood tests were negative for any alcohol or other drugs.

“It was very disheartening to hear that someone would be this careless on their first flight (at the helm) on a P-51 (Mustang, a World War II fighter plane),” Schlarb’s wife of 29 years said Wednesday.

A certified private pilot, Earley, 51, had recorded 263 total flight hours, with 53 of those in the 1944 airplane, which he purchased for more than $1 million in 2013.

According to NTSB reports, local flight instructor Michael Schlarb, 53, had helped Earley get his private pilot license, mostly flying a Beechcraft T-6 Texan, a single-engine aircraft designed for flight training.

To learn how to fly the notoriously difficult 1944 aircraft, Earley in June 2013 again hired Schlarb, who held multiple instructor certificates and had logged more than 12,000 flight hours.

“I’ve been a flight instructor for 20 years, but this was kind of a special case,” Schlarb told The Durango Herald in April 2014. “It commands a lot of respect. It’s no toy.”

On July 4, 2014, Earley was set to take the helm of the iconic aircraft from the front seat. It’s unclear if it was Earley’s first time manning the fighter plane, the NTSB’s lead investigator Courtney Liedler said. The plane had been modified to add flight controls in the rear seat as well, according to the report.

“It was never clear as to what the intent was to that flight,” she said.

However, moments after the powerful airplane lifted off about 9 a.m. from the Durango-La Plata County Airport, it banked left and crashed about 90 feet north of County Road 309A, in a hayfield just outside the airport perimeter fence.

Liedler said the NTSB will adopt a “probable cause” of the crash in the coming weeks.

Schlarb’s wife, Mona, for her part, was at a loss for words on Wednesday.

“I don’t know what to do or say at this point,” she said. “I guess I would like to say: People need to be aware that just because something is legal to do in one state, it does not mean it’s the right thing to do whenever you are in a situation with something with that much power.”

Schlarb is survived by his wife and two children, Shane and Amber Brown, both of Durango; his parents Bill and Sharon Schlarb who live in Canada; and sisters Cathy Stewart, of Tucson, Arizona, and Beverly Coke, of California.

According to previous statements made by his family, Schlarb moved to Durango in 1979 and became the youngest firefighter hired by the Durango Fire Department at that time.

He spent 18 years with the department before he pursued a second career as a pilot and instructor, including flying for TriState CareFlight.

“Everyone who knew Mike admired his personality traits and respected his impeccable integrity,” his family said. “He had a calming and patient demeanor that served his life well in both of these demanding career choices that require a cool head under pressure.”

Earley, also a Durango resident, was CEO of Saddle Butte Pipeline, and is survived by his wife, Jodi, and two daughters. He told The Durango Herald in a 2013 feature his grandfather had flown similar bombers during the war.

“It’ll put a smile on your face every time you fly it,” he said of the antique plane, of which only about 120 remain.

Attempts to reach his wife, Jodi, were unsuccessful; it is unclear if Earley used marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Source: http://www.cortezjournal.com


John Earley
North American P-51D Mustang (N1451D)
  An icon takes flight








North American P-51D Mustang, N1451D 
  

http://registry.faa.gov/N1451D

Flight Standards District Office:   FAA Salt Lake City FSDO-07

NTSB Docket Management System: http://dms.ntsb.gov/N1451D 

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA339
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 04, 2014 in Durango, CO
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN/AERO CLASSICS P 51D, registration: N1451D
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT 

On July 4, 2014 at 0927 mountain daylight time, a North American P-51 Mustang airplane, N1451D, impacted terrain near the Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO), Durango, Colorado, shortly after takeoff. The airplane was owned and operated by Bridgewood Holdings, LLC, Durango, Colorado. The airplane was substantially damaged. The flight instructor, who occupied the rear seat, and the pilot, who occupied the front seat, were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instructional flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

In statements provided to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Investigator-in-Charge (IIC) by local law enforcement, and written statements provided to the IIC, witnesses reported the airplane departed runway 3 and entered a hard left bank to approximately 90 degrees. The nose pitched up slightly and continued to bank past 90 degrees to an inverted position, and then the nose pitched down to approximately a 45 degree angle. The witnesses stated they lost sight of the airplane when their view was blocked by a hangar, unable to see the ground impact. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION 

Flight Instructor

The flight instructor, age 53, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane single and multi-engine, and glider airplane ratings. He also held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single and multi-engine land, glider and instrument airplane. Additionally, he held an airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate. 

His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class airman medical certificate was issued on April 10, 2014, with the limitation: must have available glasses for near vision.

The flight instructor reported on his medical certificate application that he had accumulated 12,400 total flight hours, with 130 hours in the previous 6 months. The flight instructor's pilot logbook indicated he had 12,414 total flight hours as of July 1, 2014, with 3,609 in single-engine land airplanes and 26 flight hours in the accident airplane. 

The flight instructor began instructing the accident pilot in June 2013, providing training for completion of his private pilot certificate in September 2013 and high performance airplane check out in October 2013. He last flew in the accident airplane with the accident pilot receiving instruction on June 24, 2014 during a 4-hour flight.

A review of the instructor's log book noted an entry dated February 1, 2014 which annotated he was 'competent to act as pilot-in-command of a North American P-51D.' 

Pilot

The pilot, age 51, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. His FAA third-class airman medical certificate was issued on March 29, 2013, with the limitation: must wear corrective lenses. The pilot did not report total flight hours accumulated on his medical certificate application. The pilot's logbook indicated he had 263 total flight hours as of June 31, 2014, with 53 of those flight hours being in the accident airplane. His last flight in the accident airplane was on June 24, 2014 during a 4-hour flight with the accident instructor pilot. A review of the pilot's log book noted the pilot recorded 71 flight hours in a Beechcraft T-6 Texan. 

A review of the P51's operating limitations revealed that, in order to act as pilot-in-command; a log book endorsement was required. The review of the pilot's log book did not reveal an endorsement for the P51.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was a P-51D Mustang, serial number 44-74446A N1451D. The airplane's Special Airworthiness Certificate was issued on October 9, 1975. The airplane was manufactured in 1944, and was a two-seat, low-wing, retractable-gear airplane, and was powered by Packard Merlin V-1650-7 engine, rated at 1,490 horsepower. This super-charged reciprocating engine had 12 cylinders and was liquid cooled. The engine drove a metal, 4-blade Hamilton Standard 24D50-105 variable pitch propeller. 

According to the airplane's logbooks, the most recent annual [condition] inspection of the airframe and engine was accomplished on September 12, 2013, at a Hobbs time of 630.0 hours and airframe total time of 2,381.3 hours. The airplane tachometer was not located in the wreckage; therefore, the airframe's total time at the time of the accident could not be determined.

The aircraft was modified with a dual flight control system to enable the rear seat passenger to manipulate the primary flight controls. The dual flight control system consisted of a rear control stick, elevator controls, rudder controls and throttle quadrant. In August of 2011, a mechanic (inspector authorization (IA)) approved this major repair and alteration of the aircraft.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 0853, the DRO automated weather reporting facility reported wind from 100 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 miles, temperature 19 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 07 degrees C, and an altimeter reading of 30.39 inches of mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Durango-La Plata County Airport is a non-towered airport operating under Class-E airspace. The airport is equipped with one runway. Runway 3/21 is 9,201 feet in length and 150-feet wide. The reported field elevation of the airport is 6,689 feet mean sea level.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted a public road on the northwest side of the airport at a nose-down angle. The wreckage path continued into a field at an approximate 290 degree orientation from the initial impact and was approximately 120 feet long. The entire airplane was fragmented. The wreckage was examined at the accident site on July 5, 2014, all of the major airframe components were contained within the wreckage distribution path. The entire fuselage was crushed and almost unrecognizable.

The airplane was recovered and taken to a storage facility where a detailed examination of the airframe and engine was completed on August 21, 2014. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no preimpact mechanical anomalies. A layout of the main airframe pieces confirmed all of the major airframe parts and flight controls were present. Although the engine was impact damaged, the gearing system for the magnetos and cam shaft were intact and able to be rotated. The propeller blades exhibited curling at the blade tips with chordwise scraping consistent with power at the time of impact.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION 

The FAA Bioaeronautical Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing for the flight instructor and the pilot. 

The flight instructor's toxicology results were negative for carbon monoxide, alcohol and drugs. 

The pilot's toxicology results were negative for carbon monoxide and alcohol. His toxicology tested positive for 0.0063 ug/ml of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the active compound in marijuana) and 0.0308 ug/ml of tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THC-COOH, an inactive metabolite of marijuana) in cavity blood. In addition, 0.0743 ug/g of THC and 0.0133 ug/g of THC-COOH were identified in lung tissue. No other tested-for substances were identified.

Although now available for medicinal use in some states and decriminalized in limited amounts in Washington and Colorado, marijuana continues to be labeled as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Marijuana's primary psychoactive compound, THC, has mood altering effects including inducing euphoria and relaxation. In addition, marijuana causes alterations in motor behavior, perception, cognition, memory, and learning. Specific performance effects include decreased ability to concentrate and maintain attention, impairment of hand-eye coordination is dose-related over a wide range of dosages. For additional details, refer to the NTSB Medical Officer's Factual Report in the public docket for this accident.

Post mortem examinations of the flight instructor and pilot were conducted under the authority of Rocky Mountain Forensic Services, PLLC, Loma, Colorado on July 7, 2014. The cause of death for both pilots was attributed to "multiple injuries consistent with an airplane accident."

TESTS AND RESEARCH

After the aircraft accident a fuel quality inspection was completed by the local fixed-based operator on the airport that regularly refueled the accident airplane.

Separate samples of aviation gasoline were tested from the above-ground fuel storage tank and two fuel trucks containing aviation gas (avgas). The above-ground storage tank was tested from the filter sump and the tank drain. The first fuel truck was tested at both sump drains, the filter sump, and both fuel delivery nozzles. The second fuel truck was tested at the single sump drain, the filter sump, and the fuel delivery nozzle. 

The most recent bulk delivery of avgas was approximately 8,500 gallons of fuel received on 7/2/2014. Additionally, the fuel filters indicated the most recent filter change for the fuel storage tank was 10/17/2013, and the two fuel trucks 10/10/2013 and 10/15/2012, respectively.

There was no evidence of debris or other contamination. The color of the fuel was absent indication of contamination from jet fuel or diesel fuel.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Excerpt from the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Information, FAA- H-8083-25A, Chapter 4:

Torque Reaction

Torque reaction involves Newton's Third Law of Physics—for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. As applied to the aircraft, this means that as the internal engine parts and propeller are revolving in one direction, an equal force is trying to rotate the aircraft in the opposite direction. 

When the aircraft is airborne, this force is acting around the longitudinal axis, tending to make the aircraft roll. To compensate for roll tendency, some of the older aircraft are rigged in a manner to create more lift on the wing that is being forced downward. The more modern aircraft are designed with the engine offset to counteract this effect of torque.

NOTE: Most United States built aircraft engines rotate the propeller clockwise, as viewed from the pilot's seat. The discussion here is with reference to those engines.

Generally, the compensating factors are permanently set so that they compensate for this force at cruising speed, since most of the aircraft's operating lift is at that speed. However, aileron trim tabs permit further adjustment for other speeds.

When the aircraft's wheels are on the ground during the takeoff roll, an additional turning moment around the vertical axis is induced by torque reaction. As the left side of the aircraft is being forced down by torque reaction, more weight is being placed on the left main landing gear. This results in more ground friction, or drag, on the left tire than on the right, causing a further turning moment to the left. The magnitude of this moment is dependent on many variables. Some of these variables are:

1. Size and horsepower of engine,

2. Size of propeller and the rpm,

3. Size of the aircraft, and

4. Condition of the ground surface.

This yawing moment on the takeoff roll is corrected by the pilot's proper use of the rudder or rudder trim.

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA339 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 04, 2014 in Durango, CO
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN/AERO CLASSICS P 51D, registration: N1451D
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 July 4, 2014 about 0930 mountain daylight time, a North American P-51 Mustang, N1451D, was substantially damaged when the airplane impacted terrain near Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO), Durango, Colorado, shortly after takeoff. The airplane was owned and operated by Bridgewood Holdings, LLC, Durango, Colorado. The certified flight instructor, who occupied the back seat, and the pilot receiving instruction, who occupied the front seat, were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instructional flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

In statements provided to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator in charge (IIC) by local law enforcement, and written statements provided to the IIC, witnesses saw the airplane takeoff and enter a hard left bank to approximately 90 degrees. The nose pitched up slightly and it continued to turn past 90 degrees to an inverted position when the nose pitched down to approximately a 45 degree angle. The witnesses stated they lost sight of the airplane as it went behind a hangar and did not witness the airplane impact the ground.

At 0853, the DRO automated weather reporting facility reported wind from 100 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 miles, temperature 19 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 07 degrees C, and an altimeter reading of 30.39 inches of mercury.














 North American P-51D Mustang, N1451D

Tim Alfred of Avtronics, Inc., climbs toward the cockpit of John Earley’s P-51 Mustang while working on avionics at Stevens Field in Pagosa Springs.


Tim Alfred of Avtronics, Inc., examines wiring of a North American P-51D Mustang. He is replacing and updating avionics in a hangar at Stevens Field in Pagosa Springs.




NTSB Identification: LAX94LA178. 
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Monday, April 04, 1994 in CHINO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/07/1994
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN P-51D, registration: N1451D
Injuries: 2 Minor.


NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot departed with the intention of circling the airport several times to check the aircraft prior to departing on a cross-country to Prescott, Arizona. The airplane was undergoing a major rebuilding and restoration after a previous accident and had not flown for several years. Postcrash examination revealed that two oil cooler lines had been inadvertently crossed. One of the oil cooler lines failed as a result of the incorrect line installation and the engine oil was pumped overboard. The engine subsequently sustained a catastrophic internal failure. The last logbook entry and documented annual inspection for the airplane was dated 1987. The pilot's last flight physical was dated 1981. Ground witnesses stated that the pilot did not go through the normal preflight ground power checks prior to flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
the pilot's decision to fly an unairworthy and uncertificated airplane, his failure to perform an adequate preflight, and the improper installation of the oil cooler lines.

On April 4, 1994, at 1749 hours Pacific daylight time, a North American P-51D, N1451D, was substantially damaged during a forced landing at Chino, California. The forced landing was precipitated by a loss of engine power. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross-country flight and no flight plan was filed. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The flight originated at Chino at 1745 hours as a local test flight with a planned continuation to Prescott, Arizona.

This was the first flight since completion of a major rebuild and restoration. The pilot planned to circle the airport area several times to check the operation of the aircraft prior to departing for Prescott. Ground witnesses stated that they do not recall seeing the airplane go through normal ground power checks prior to flight.

While maneuvering in the airport area, the pilot reported that he experienced an oil mist in the cockpit. The pilot declared an emergency and the Chino Air Traffic Control Tower cleared the aircraft to land on runway 21. The aircraft collided with terrain in a cow pasture about 1/4 mile north of the airport.

During the postcrash examination of the engine and the oil system, it was observed that the inlet and outlet oil lines to the oil cooler had been inadvertently crossed. An aluminum beaded oil line with a rubber hose and clamp was found disconnected from the cooler on the inlet side. According to a mechanic familiar with the aircraft and engine types, the crossing of these oil lines will cause a pressure build up and can force the hose to uncouple.

Examination of the airplane fuselage revealed a trail of engine oil from the oil cooler aft along the belly to the tail.

PILOT INFORMATION

Review of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman record and medical files revealed that the pilot's last flight physical of record was dated March 23, 1981. At the time of that examination, he reported a total flight time of 8,000 hours with 200 in the last 6 months.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

According to the airframe logbook, the last documented aircraft maintenance was performed on April 12, 1987, at a total airframe time of 1,751.3 hours. According to an engine logbook, the engine installed at the time of the accident had been overhauled on May 3, 1983, and had accrued 456.3 hours of operation. The last documented annual inspection was dated April 12, 1987.

The airplane was being rebuilt at Chino after a previous accident. The work had been in progress for several years. No inspection, repair, or overhaul data was recovered regarding the restoration or rebuilding of the airplane.

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