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.
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.