Thursday, November 10, 2016

North American Navion, N8849H: Fatal accident occurred November 10, 2016 (and) Incident occurred December 12, 2015 at Blairstown Airport (1N7), Warren County, New Jersey

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: 

Sam Singer:

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA042
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, November 10, 2016 in Blairstown, NJ
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN NAVION, registration: N8849H
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 10, 2016, about 0915 eastern standard time, a North American Navion, N8849H, was substantially damaged following a loss of control during engine startup at Blairstown Airport (1N7), Blairstown, New Jersey. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated by the private pilot as a personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Capital City Airport (CXY), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

According to a mechanic who witnessed the accident, the pilot/owner last flew the accident airplane in December 2015, when it experienced a gear-up landing at 1N7. The airplane remained at the airport while the mechanic repaired damage from the gear-up landing. The repairs were completed and the airplane was supposed to be ferried to CXY for an annual inspection during the day prior to the accident. A different pilot was going to ferry the airplane, but poor weather postponed the flight. That pilot was not available on the day of the accident and the owner/pilot elected to fly the airplane to CXY himself.

During the morning of the accident, the mechanic taxied the airplane from the hangar to the fuel pump. During which, he performed an engine run-up and did not notice any anomalies with the airplane. The mechanic added that he had performed several run-ups while the airplane was at 1N7 and never experienced any anomalies with the throttle control or brakes. After fueling the airplane and completion of a preflight inspection, the pilot/owner started the engine and it went immediately to full power. The engine remained at full power and the airplane taxied at high speed into a tree.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. The inspector noted that the throttle, propeller, and mixture controls were all in the full forward position. The hydraulic and alternate air controls were in the retracted position. The wreckage was retained for further examination.

The pilot/owner, age 73, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on January 30, 2016. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 1,445 hours.

The four-seat, low-wing, retractable tricycle-gear airplane, serial number NAV-4-849, was manufactured in 1947. It was powered by a Continental IO-520, 285-horsepower engine, equipped with a constant-speed Hartzell propeller. The pilot purchased the airplane in 2009. Its most recent annual inspection was completed on August 21, 2015. At that time, the airframe had accumulated approximately 2,052 total hours of operation and the engine had accumulated about 417 hours since major overhaul. The airplane had been operated for about 14 hours from the time of the last inspection, until the accident.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email 

Samuel Singer

Samuel Singer was a decisive man, a quality a former colleague said served him well in the business world.

So how the 73-year-old pilot could have failed to act in the small plane crash that took his life Thursday is a mystery to Rich Faherty.

The fellow aviator who worked with Singer for some 20 years was among the first to learn Singer's plane had crashed about 9:30 Thursday morning at a Blairstown Township airport in northern Warren County. Another pilot had called him, saying emergency officials needed his help to get in touch with Singer's family.

Authorities have said the plane finished refueling, then went full-throttle across the runways before crashing into trees. Singer, of Warren Township in Somerset County, was pulled from the wrecked aircraft and flown to Morristown Medical Center, where he later died.

"As a pilot, the first thing you think of is if the plane suddenly went full throttle, what would you do? ... I would assume Sam would have the same mental checklist," Faherty said Friday. "The fact that Sam didn't stop the plane before it struck the trees makes me believe that something else prevented him from going through the mental checklist."

Faherty is the executive vice president of administration at BioReference Laboratories, where Singer worked for 30 years. Under Singer's guidance as chief financial officer, the company based in Elmwood Park — which provides testing services for physicians, hospitals and other clinics — went from making $1 million a year to almost $1 billion by the time he retired in 2015, Faherty said.

Singer's family said that he served in the U.S. Army, both active duty and reserves, for about 20 years starting in the 1960s. He was a father to five and a grandfather to three, devoted to his local Catholic parish and other charities. Three of his children have or are working at BioReference, Faherty said.

Singer served for nine years as a trustee at Mount St. Mary Academy, a Catholic prep school for girls in Watchung.

"The death of Sam Singer is a profound and devastating loss for the Mount St. Mary Academy community," the school said in a statement Friday. "He demonstrated a steadfast devotion to the academy's mission and values and was deeply devoted to his Catholic faith. He was a loyal friend and member of our family who will always be appreciated and missed."

A post from October on the school's Facebook page congratulated him on his retirement from the board, noting that his four daughters all graduated from the school and a granddaughter is applying there.

Singer had gotten into flying later in life, Faherty said. Federal Aviation Administration records say he got his license in 2011, though Faherty said his colleague had been flying for 10 years, frequently logging hours in the sky.

FAA records also say Singer owned the plane that crashed Thursday, a North American Navion fixed-wing, single-engine craft manufactured in 1947. The same plane was involved in a crash last December at the airport.

Faherty said it is part of the piloting community to meet up at various airports — he had met Singer and others at Blairstown Airport before.

When he heard of the crash, Faherty got in touch with Singer's wife. At the time, he said, it sounded serious but not fatal.

It wasn't until Thursday night that Faherty said he found out from another former colleague that Singer was gone. The Warren County Prosecutor's Office on Friday said Singer died of blunt force trauma, and his death was ruled an accident.

"It's really sad," Faherty said. "This is a man who was a wonderful family man, a great business associate, someone I worked with for many years. ... I missed him because he had retired. I used to see him virtually every day.

"I know how much he loved to fly," he continued. "Certainly, no one would ever have expected this to happen to him. ... The last thing you want to do is have a car accident in your plane. And that's virtually what this was."

Story, comments and photo gallery:

---Fatal Plane Crash Update---

At 9:23 AM, police responded to the Blairstown Airport for a plane crash. Upon arrival police found the pilot, identified as Samuel Singer of Warren Township, entrapped with serious injuries. Blairstown Hose Company and police used the jaws of life to extricate the pilot from the aircraft. Atlantic Air 1 transported the pilot to Morristown Medical Center where the pilot later passed away from his injuries. A witness stated the plane had just been refueled and the plane went full throttle across both runways and into the trees. It's still unclear what caused the plane to be in full throttle. The FAA is still investigating the cause of the crash. Blairstown Ambulance Corps, Paramedics from Atlantic, Warren County Prosecutor's Office, Warren County Hazmat, and Blairstown OEM also assisted at the scene.

BLAIRSTOWN — The pilot injured when his plane went off the runway and struck trees at Blairstown Airport on Thursday morning died at the hospital Thursday evening, according to police.

Samuel Singer, 63, of Warren Township, Somerset County, died at Morristown Medical Center as a result of his injuries.

The North American Navion aircraft crashed around 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

The pilot had finished refueling the aircraft and was preparing to take off when the plane went full throttle, shot across the runway and hit trees on the outskirts of the runway, according to Lt. Scott Johnsen of Blairstown police. Investigators will determine if the issue was caused by mechanical or operator error.

Singer was extracted from the plane by Blairstown Police officer Paul Choe and a member of Blairstown Hose Company. He was flown to Morristown Medical Center. Johnson said the pilot suffered broken bones.

The Federal Aviation Administration, Blairstown Hose Company, Atlantic Health Systems, Blairstown EMS, Blairstown police and Warren County Hazmat responded to the scene.


A pilot sustained major injuries during a runway mishap Thursday morning at Blairstown Airport that resulted in his single-engine aircraft leaving the runway and crashing into trees, according to Blairstown police.

Lt. Scott Johnson said the crash occurred while the pilot was taxiing onto a runway and the plane somehow "got stuck in full-throttle position."

An Associated Press article previously cited Federal Aviation Administration officials reporting that the plane struck trees and crashed while landing. The plane, in fact, crossed two runways while still on the ground and before crashing into nearby trees, Johnson said.

The injured pilot was airlifted to Morristown Medical Center by Atlantic Ambulance's Air 1 helicopter, according to Johnson. The pilot was not identified and his condition is unknown.

Township police and members of the Blairstown Hose Co. and Office of Emergency Management responded and extricated the pilot from the wreckage, according to Johnson. The Blaistwon Ambulance Corps, haz-mat unit and the FAA also responded to the scene.  The crash is still under investigation.


A small plane struck a tree while landing about 9:15 a.m. Thursday at Blairstown Airport, the Blairstown Township fire chief said.

The pilot survived and was being removed from the plane by medical personnel just after 9:30 a.m., Chief Darren Occhiuzzo confirmed by text.

The plane was leaking fuel and Warren County's hazardous materials team was called in, county Public Safety Director Frank Wheatley said.

The pilot was loaded into a medical helicopter just before 10 a.m., Occhiuzzo said. The pilot was taken to Morristown Medical Center, according to Wheatley.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration search based on the plane's registration number, N8849H, the North American Navion is owned by Sam Singer, of Warren, New Jersey, in Somerset County. 

The fixed-wing single-engine plane was built in 1947, according to the FAA.

It was not immediately confirmed that Singer was piloting the craft at the time of the crash. Calls to a number listed for his home went unanswered Thursday afternoon.

The same plane was involved in a incident last December at the airport.  Township police, fire and emergency medical personnel responded Thursday, as will the FAA, Occhiuzzo said.


BLAIRSTOWN, N.J. - The pilot of a plane suffered multiple injuries when the aircraft crashed at an airport in Warren County, New Jersey, on Thursday.

The single-engine plane somehow got stuck in full throttle and went across two runways at the Blairstown Airport before hitting some trees around 9:30 a.m., according to Blairstown police Lt. Scott Johnsen, who said that the plane did manage to get a few feet off the ground before the crash.

"It was just like a weird sound like a crash,” said Blairstown resident, Chris Wester. “Thought it was a car accident."

The pilot was taken to a hospital with broken bones, but his injuries are not considered to be life-threatening, Johnsen said.

Police have not released the name of the pilot or where he was heading to.

The pilot was the only person on the four passenger, North American Navion aircraft and emergency crews used the jaws of life to remove him from the plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration is leading the investigation. 

Story and video:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Allentown FSDO-05


Date:     12-DEC-15
Time:     15:45:00Z
Regis#:     N8849H
Aircraft Make:     NORTH AMERICAN
Aircraft Model:     NAVION
Event Type:     Incident
Highest Injury:     None
Damage:     Minor
Flight Phase:     LANDING (LDG)
State:     New Jersey

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