Friday, October 14, 2016

Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II, Westmoreland Aviation, N9097U: Accident occurred October 14, 2016 at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (KLBE), Latrobe, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Allegheny PFSDO-03

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items -   National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA026
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 14, 2016 in Latrobe, PA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28, registration: N9097U
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that while on right downwind and after being cleared for a touch-and-go landing, the tower instructed him to make a short approach. The pilot further reported that during approach the airplane was to the left of the runway, he attempted to correct to the right, and "believe ['s] that I[he] had applied full right rudder." Subsequently the right wing impacted the ground and the airplane cart-wheeled. The right wing separated from the fuselage.

The pilot reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot reported as a safety recommendation that the accident could have been prevented if he had executed a go-around.

Doug Splitstone was injured when his plane crashed at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.

A pilot was injured Friday morning when the single-engine plane he was flying crashed on landing at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, according to Gabe Monzo, executive director of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority.

The 10:30 a.m. crash during a routine flight tore away one wing of the small aircraft flown by Doug Splitstone, Monzo said. The pilot's address was not available.

Splitstone is expected to fully recover from a head laceration, according to a statement from Westmoreland Aviation, which owns the plane that Splitstone was flying. He was taken to UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh for evaluation; a hospital spokeswoman said he was not a patient there Friday afternoon.

Splitstone is a certified private pilot with significant experience and a good safety record who regularly flies out of the Unity airport, the co-owners of Westmoreland Aviation, J.T. Spangler and David Castaldo, said in the statement. He is a member of the Aviators Flying Club, Spangler said.

“We don't know yet exactly what happened, but we are cooperating fully with the (Federal Aviation Administration) and (National Transportation Safety Board) as they investigate,” the owners said in the statement.

The Piper Warrior, which is available for use by club members, was severely damaged when it landed in the airport's infield between the runway and the taxiway, Monzo said. The wreckage was cleared in about 90 minutes and the airstrip reopened just before noon, he said.

Regular training helped with the quick turnaround to get the airport running again, Monzo said. An incoming Spirit Airlines flight was diverted to Cleveland but landed at the Westmoreland County airport at about 1 p.m., he said.

“We train with the local fire departments ... about how to handle situations like that,” Monzo said. “The guys are fantastic, they do a wonderful job.”

Airport fire Chief Moe Haas said training preparations served them well.

“The response went good. All our outside agencies work well together,” he said.

Every three years, they are required to perform a disaster drill to test the area's emergency response. The next drill is scheduled in May, Haas said.

Westmoreland Aviation is a club and flight school operated by Westmoreland Aviation Holding Co. of Murrysville. After an increase in demand for flight instruction since the group took over the business from Fly Wright Center in 2009, the company purchased the hangar space it had been leasing and expanded into another building.


LATROBE (KDKA) – One man was injured when a small plane crashed at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport Friday morning.

According to emergency dispatchers, a Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II plane crashed shortly after 10:30 a.m.

Doug Splitstone was the only person on board at the time of the crash. They were flown to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, but their condition is unknown. However, his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

According to the FAA, Splitstone was doing practice maneuvers when the plane rolled off the runway and flipped.  As a result, one of the plane’s wings was torn off.

The plane is owned by Westmoreland Aviation Holding Company.

So far, one Spirit Airlines flight has been diverted to Cleveland.

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UNITY TOWNSHIP, Pa. —The pilot of a small plane was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital after crashing at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport on Friday morning.

Doug Splitstone was the only person aboard the Piper Warrior when it crashed at about 10:30 a.m., said Gabe Monzo, executive director of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority. Splitstone was talking and alert after the crash.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters said the plane was doing practice maneuvers when it flipped over into a grassy infield.

Splitstone is a member of the Westmoreland Aviation flying club. His son, who also flies, said Splitstone has had a pilot's license for years.

"He does like to fly. I knew that. He, on occasion, he requests that I go up with him. I never do because I'm nervous about one-engine aircrafts," neighbor Bob Gaydos said. "I'm glad to hear he's in reasonably good shape, we think."

Splitstone's son said that initial tests showed no damage to his father's organs, but that they were awaiting more information.

A Spirit Airlines flight bound for Latrobe was diverted to Cleveland because of the accident.

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LATROBE, Pa. - One person was injured when a small plane crashed Friday morning at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport near Latrobe.

Emergency officials told Channel 11 News that the single-engine Piper Cherokee, owned by Westmoreland Aviation, crashed as it was landing at about 10:30 a.m.

Officials said the pilot, Doug Splitstone, suffered moderate injuries. Splitstone was taken by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital, said Gabe Munzo, a spokesperson with the airport. He was the only person on board, and officials said he was alert and conscious as he was flown to the hospital. 

The cause of the crash was not known as of Friday afternoon, but officials said weather is not believed to have been a factor. Airport officials said pretty much anything could have caused the crash. 

"All kinds of things could happen. You try to prepare for anything," Munzo said. 

Officials said Splitstone, of Murrysville, has been a pilot for six years and is part of Westmoreland Aviation.  He is a pilot who is recognized highly by the FAA, which means he met or exceeded the high educational and licensing standards established by the administration.

The front of the plane was heavily damaged, as was the landing gear, and the right wing fell off during the crash. 

One Spirit Airlines flight was diverted to Cleveland as a result of the crash. The airport reopened shortly before noon.

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