Thursday, October 06, 2016

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Flying Flea HM14/360, N83165; accident occurred October 06, 2016 near Waterbury Airport (N41), New Haven County, Connecticut


The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Enfield, Connecticut 

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/N83165

Location: Plymouth, CT
Accident Number: ERA17LA007
Date & Time: 10/06/2016, 1700 EDT
Registration: N83165
Aircraft: James Bruton FLYING FLEA
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On October 6, 2016, about 1700 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Flying Flea HM14/360, N83165, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after takeoff from Waterbury Airport (N41), Plymouth, Connecticut. The private pilot was seriously injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from N41, about 1630.

According to witnesses, the pilot was conducting touch-and-go landings. After about 30 minutes, the engine "sputtered" multiple times and the airplane subsequently descended into trees. The pilot was hospitalized, and according to his wife, he did not recall the accident.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that both wings separated from the fuselage. The airplane was equipped with a BMW R100 motorcycle engine. An undetermined amount of fuel was observed in the fuel tank and examination of the fuel system did not reveal any fuel contamination. An examination of the airframe did not reveal any anomalies and no further examination of the engine was performed.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 60, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/16/2012
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 130 hours (Total, all aircraft), 130 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: James Bruton
Registration: N83165
Model/Series: FLYING FLEA HM14/360
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: HM14/360-JB-1
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 700 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: McCulloch
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 72 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: OXC, 726 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1715 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 23°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.31 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 7°C / 5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Plymouth, CT (N41)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Plymouth, CT (N41)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1630 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: WATERBURY (N41)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 850 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 17
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2005 ft / 135 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Unknown

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 41.633333, -73.046667 (est)

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA007
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 06, 2016 in Waterbury, CT
Aircraft: James Bruton FLYING FLEA, registration: N83165
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

On October 6, 2016, about 1200 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Flying Flea HM14/360, N83165, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after takeoff from Waterbury Airport (N41), Waterbury, Connecticut. The private pilot was seriously injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from N41, about 1130.

According to two witnesses, the pilot was conducting touch-and-go landings. After approximately 30 minutes, the engine began to sputter on climbout. Both witnesses watched as the airplane continued in a southerly direction before descending into trees. 

Initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that both wings were broken away from the fuselage. The airplane was recovered from the accident site and retained for further examination.




PLYMOUTH — Federal Aviation Administration records indicate the small plane that crashed in Plymouth on Thursday was owned by Middlebury resident James Bruton, who had not been released from Hartford Hospital as of Friday afternoon.

Officials from both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board declined to confirm Bruton was the pilot whose engine cut out several times before it crashed into a wooded area near Camp Mattatuck and Gentile’s Camp Ground, off Mount Tobe Road. The area is not far from Waterbury Airport, a small airport for privately owned planes on the Waterbury-Plymouth border.

A hospital employee confirmed Bruton was in the Intensive Care Unit at Hartford Hospital Friday afternoon. Spokespeople for the hospital did not return phone calls Friday requesting an update on Bruton’s condition.

Terryville firefighters said the wooden, single-engine plane was approaching from the north when its engine cut out and had to dump into the trees near a pond around 5 p.m. Thursday. Immediately following the crash, eyewitness Greg Gubitosi, who works at one of the campgrounds and was fishing in the pond, ran over to the small, single-seat aircraft and called 911.

Gubitosi said the victim appeared to have facial trauma, labored breathing and couldn’t speak. He also had a “deformed left leg,” as the experimental plane had caved in on him.  Firefighters, who said the pilot suffered internal and head injuries, had to extricate the man before he was flown on the LifeStar emergency helicopter to Hartford Hospital.

Officials from both the NTSB and the FAA responded to the crash and had left the scene by early Friday afternoon. Neither agency released many details Friday, including where the aircraft had been coming from and whether it intended to land at Waterbury Airport. The cause of the crash is still being investigated.

The NTSB is expected to release a preliminary report on the accident within a week to 10 days.

“We’re still fact gathering,” said Keith Holloway, NTSB spokesperson.

By Friday afternoon, the wreckage from the experimental aircraft had been removed from the campgrounds. In aviation terms, an experimental aircraft can refer to a plane not fully proven in flight yet, using new aerospace technologies, or a homebuilt aircraft.

Firefighters said fuel leaked from the plane, but it never caught fire.

Gubitosi said the plane was flying low, circling the area, and its engine cut out twice and fired back up before going dead a third time prior to the crash. Had he not been fishing nearby, he’s not sure someone else would have heard the crash and reported it.

“He would have spent the night here if I wasn’t here,” Gubitosi said.


PLYMOUTH — A man sustained serious injuries Thursday when a single-engine airplane he was flying crashed into a wooded area near Waterbury Airport.

Firefighters said the man, who was not identified, was taken on the Life Star emergency helicopter to Hartford Hospital. His condition is unclear.

Terryville Fire Chief Mark Sekorski said the man — the only one in the single-seat plane — was “pretty banged up” when firefighters found him in the wooden, experimental aircraft, which crashed not far from a pond at the Gentile’s Campground around 5 p.m.

The man suffered head and internal injuries, the chief said. Firefighters had to extricate him from the aircraft, which was equipped with a BMW engine, before he was flown away to the hospital.

Police, fire and ambulance crews from both Waterbury and Plymouth responded, as the crash happened near the town’s borders.

Greg Gubitosi, who works at the campground and lives a few miles away, was fishing in the pond when the plane crashed. He saw the whole thing.

Gubitosi said the plane was circling around the pond when he heard its engine cut out about three times before it crashed into the woods, a few hundred yards from where he was standing.

“They do that for training sometimes, so I thought he was maybe training,” he said.

When he realized the pilot was in distress, Gubitosi noticed the plane did not have a pontoon-style landing system and worried about where he would set down.

“I thought he was trying to land in the water,” he said. “I would have had to gone in the water.”

Gubitosi dropped his fishing rod when the plane crashed, ran over to it and called 911. The man was not able to talk, he said, and had facial trauma, as well as a “deformed left leg.”

“He had labored breathing,” Gubitosi said.

Firefighters said fuel leaked from the plane but it never caught fire. They taped off the area before officials from the Federal Aviation Administration arrived to investigate.

Gubitosi said he was glad he was nearby when the crash happened, as no one else is normally at the campground this time of year.

“He would have spent the night here if I wasn’t here,” Gubitosi said.

He also said he did not know who was in the plane.

“I know all the planes that fly around here. I’ve never seen that one before.”

PLYMOUTH, Conn. (WTNH) — News 8 has learned that a plane has crashed near the Waterbury Airport in the town of Plymouth.

Life Star says they responded to the scene at 5:20 p.m. and that they are caring for one patient. It is unknown where the patient will be taken for further treatment. Emergency crews remain on the scene.

There are very few details being released at this time. There is no word on the severity of any injuries.

PLYMOUTH — One victim was extricated Thursday evening from a small plane that crashed near Waterbury Airport, a small private airport in Plymouth.

The victim was taken by Life Star helicopter to Hartford Hospital for treatment. The pilot’s name and condition have not been released.

The pilot crashed the plane off shore at Mattatuck Boy Scout camp in Terryville.

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