NTSB Identification: CEN16FA361
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 07, 2016 in Chariton, IA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 46-310P, registration: N465JM
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 August 7, 2016, about 1219 central daylight time, a Piper PA 46-310P airplane, N465JM, registered to Wolf Aviation LLC of West Des Moines, Iowa, was destroyed when it impacted terrain after an in-flight breakup in the vicinity of Williamson, Iowa. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. The cross-country flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. No flight plan was filed and instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area. The airplane was in receipt of VFR flight following services just prior to the accident. The flight originated about 1130 from the Johnson County Executive Airport (OJC), Olathe, Kansas, and was en route to the Ankeny Regional Airport (IKV), Ankeny, Iowa, when the accident occurred.
According to preliminary radar and Air Traffic Control (ATC) information, the pilot was receiving VFR flight following at 13,500 feet MSL from the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). The pilot had been deviating for convective weather along the route of flight, and was proceeding direct to IKV. The Chicago ARTCC had issued a weather advisory to the pilot about areas of moderate to extreme precipitation along the route of flight and the pilot responded that he had the weather information on the airplane's NEXRAD system while making deviations to avoid the convective weather. The pilot reported to ARTCC that he was around the weather, proceeded toward IKV, and requested to start his descent. The Chicago ARTCC controller responded that the descent altitude was at the pilot's discretion, and then instructed the pilot to contact Des Moines Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT), but received no response from the pilot. Preliminary radar data showed the airplane making a rapid descending right turn before radar contact was lost. The last radar return showed the airplane about 4,700 feet MSL. The Chicago ARTCC controller attempted to contact the airplane on frequency, on guard frequency, and through other aircraft without success, and also solicited ELT reports from nearby aircraft with negative responses. No distress calls were received from the pilot and an ALNOT was issued.
The airplane main wreckage and parts were located about 5 hours after the loss of radar contact by local ground and Civil Air Patrol search personnel. On scene examination of the accident site by the NTSB and FAA showed evidence that the airplane had broken apart prior to impact. The airplane impacted into a mature corn field with wing and empennage components scattered along a path about 1/2-mile long, with the main wreckage (cabin and fuselage) resting along a stand of trees adjacent to the corn field.
There were no eyewitnesses to the accident. However, local residents and search personnel reported rain and thunderstorms in the area about the time of the accident.
Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by firstname.lastname@example.org, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email@example.com.
Scott Dean Wolfswinkel
Scott Wolfswinkel, age 42, died tragically on September 7, 2016 while fulfilling his passion of being a pilot.
Scott was born August 28, 1974 in Sioux Center, Iowa to Helaine (Groeneweg) and James Wolfswinkel. He graduated from Rock Valley High School in 1993 and Northwestern College in 1997. He was the owner and founder of Wolf Construction, a West Des Moines based commercial construction firm and roofing contractor. Scott was a visionary and an incredibly hard worker who loved his family and employees. Scott truly had a passion for his work, enjoying it to the fullest every day.
He was a man of God, a light for Jesus, and touched the lives of many - especially the lives of his children. Scott mentored many and shared his gift of leadership with his employees, the students he coached in football at Des Moines Christian, and was passionate about connecting new relationships with God. His generosity was second to none. Scott loved spending time with his family – his children were his life. He also enjoyed guns, outdoor activities, listening to music, cooking, smoking meats and HORSEPOWER.
Scott is survived by his children, Mason, Kaden, Kia and Mylee Wolfswinkel; parents, Jim and Helaine Wolfswinkel; siblings, Brent (Lyndsay), Timothy (Jessica), Mark (Tracy) and Blake (Sarah) Wolfswinkel; his grandparents, Simon and Judith Groeneweg; the mother of his children, Sarah Rosberg; 9 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Joe and Sadie Wolfswinkel.
A celebration of his life will be held at Lutheran Church of Hope, 925 Jordan Creek Parkway in West Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 10:00 a.m. Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m., Monday, September 12, 2016 at the church. Burial to be held at Resthaven Cemetery following the celebration of life.
Memorial contributions may be directed toward Des Moines Christian School, Special Olympics-Iowa, Meals for the Heartland or Susan G. Komen-Iowa.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.HamiltonsFuneralHome.com.
LUCAS CO. - The name of the pilot who crashed in rural Lucas County Wednesday night has been named.
Wolf Construction, a West Des Moines based commercial construction firm and roofing contractor, announced in a press release today that its owner and founder, Scott Wolfswinkel, died in the crash. He was the only one in the private Piper aircraft.
The National Transportation Safety Bureau spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory says Wolfswinkel lost contact with Des Moines International Airport at 12:52 p.m. on Wednesday. Wolfswinkel was supposed to check in before landing at the airport and never did.
Lucas County Sheriff's deputies discovered the crash scene a few hours later in the middle of Stephens State Forest in the northeastern part of the county.
The NTSB & FAA have deployed people to the scene and are continuing to investigate. They have not released what caused the crash.
The release from Wolf Construction also reported that Wolfswinkel was returning from Kansas City for a business trip when the crash happened. In a statement, Brandon Hoch, friend and coworker said:
"Our hearts are heavy today as we announce the death of our leader, founder and most importantly our friend, Scott Wolfswinkel. Scott was a visionary and an incredibly hardworker that loved his family and employees, as well."
Wolfswinkel started the construction business when he was a student in college. He leaves behind multiple children and family throughout Iowa.
Story and video: http://www.weareiowa.com
OTTUMWA — Pilots tend to be a tight-knit community. Most people can’t understand being at the controls of a plane thousands of feet in the air or seeing the sun rise from a tiny, propeller-driven aircraft as the fog burns off the ground below.
On the ground your view is limited by trees, hills and buildings. Even open, flat ground has a range of only a few miles. So, when a plane goes down, other pilots are uniquely qualified to find it. It wasn’t a surprise when law enforcement turned to Ottumwa for help finding a plane that crashed Wednesday in Lucas County.
“We were out doing cleanup on one of our aircraft,” said Larry Merrill III. “My father received a call from Monroe County deputies asking if we could help find a downed aircraft by using one of our aircraft.”
The answer was yes, of course. For Archangel and Merrill, it was the first search flight out of Ottumwa. It wasn’t new for his father. But experience doesn’t mean the stress and the concern change.
The plane disappeared from radar early Wednesday afternoon. The Merrills flew for about two and-a-half hours, looking for signs of wreckage, before they had to refuel. When they went up again they had possible coordinates for the crash site, but it still took an hour to confirm and steer emergency personnel in.
“The main thing going through our heads yesterday was ‘My God, I hope this pilot is ok,’” Merrill said. “There was a huge crew out looking for them.”
The plane went down near a Class B road. That means a lower standard than gravel or paved surfaces. They can be pretty rough, and this one was. Merrill said all-terrain vehicles were pretty much the only way in or out.
The pilot, whose name has not been released, was killed in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
Technology is making it easier to keep track of planes, and there are tools that exist now that can pin down crash locations quickly. That’s particularly important in cases like Wednesday, when a rural location means fewer people were likely to see the plane as it went down.
But technology turns over much faster than airplanes do. Pilots are still flying aircraft built 20, 30, 40 years ago or more. Unless the plane is retrofit with the new technology, the means for finding it in an emergency can be several decades behind today’s technology.
Merrill said that will change with new rules that go into effect in the coming years.
“You’ve got an option that you can buy this part or that part,” he said. “That’s why the FAA is cracking down.”
But even if authorities think they know a crash location to within a couple hundred yards, it’s still going to be likely that other aircraft can survey rural sites faster than ground-based teams. That means while Wednesday was Merrill’s first search, there’s a good chance it won’t be his last.