Thursday, December 8, 2016

Beech 95-B55 (T42A), Vermont Life Safety, N180GA: Accident occurred November 14, 2016 in Plattsburgh, Clinton County, New York

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:


Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board: 

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA061

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, November 14, 2016 in Plattsburgh, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/18/2017
Aircraft: BEECH 95B55, registration: N180GA
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 flight instructor of the multi-engine airplane reported that during a full-feathered, single-engine practice instrument approach in visual meteorological conditions, the pilot extended the flaps and the airspeed dropped about 20-30 knots. He further reported that the pilot added power to the operating engine and the airplane "veered" to the left and "lost more altitude resulting in a stalled condition". The flight instructor took control of the airplane, reduced power to idle on the operating engine, attempted to level the wings, and the airplane impacted the airport ramp area with "excessive vertical speed".

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings, both ailerons, and fuselage.

The flight instructor reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The Federal Aviation Administration has published the Airplane Flying Handbook FAA-H-8083-3B (2016). This handbook discusses multi-engine landings and spin awareness and states in part:


The final approach should be made with power and at a speed recommended by the manufacturer; if a recommended speed is not furnished, the speed should be no slower than the single-engine best rate-of-climb speed (VYSE) until short final with the landing assured, but in no case less than critical engine-out minimum control speed (VMC). Some multiengine pilots prefer to delay full flap extension to short final with the landing assured. This is an acceptable technique with appropriate experience and familiarity with the airplane.

Spin Awareness

In order to spin any airplane, it must first be stalled. At the stall, a yawing moment must be introduced. In a multiengine airplane, the yawing moment may be generated by rudder input or asymmetrical thrust. It follows, then, that spin awareness be at its greatest during VMC demonstrations, stall practice, slow flight, or any condition of high asymmetrical thrust, particularly at low speed/high AOA (angle of attack). Single-engine stalls are not part of any multiengine training curriculum.

For spin avoidance when practicing engine failures, the flight instructor should pay strict attention to the maintenance of proper airspeed and bank angle as the student executes the appropriate procedure. The instructor should also be particularly alert during stall and slow flight practice. Forward center-of-gravity positions result in favorable stall and spin avoidance characteristics, but do not eliminate the hazard.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's failure to maintain the proper airspeed and his exceedance of the airplane's critical angle-of-attack during a single-engine approach, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall at an altitude too low for the flight instructor to recover.

PLATTSBURGH — A report by the National Transportation Safety Board shows that no mechanical failure or malfunction contributed to the forced landing of a small airplane at Plattsburgh International Airport back in mid November.

Robert J. Desmarais, 64, of Essex Junction, Vt., was piloting the Beechcraft 95-B55, owned by VLS Aviation Resources in Clairmont, N.H., and conducting practice approaches on the afternoon of Nov. 14.

He and flight instructor Robert S. Kaufmann, 54, of Warren, Vt., had taken off from Burlington International at 2:30 p.m. for the instructional flight.

20 TO 30 KNOTS

According to the report, "during a full-feathered, single-engine practice instrument approach in visual meteorological conditions, (Desmarais) extended the flaps, and the airspeed dropped about 20 to 30 knots."

In a phone conversation with Air Safety Investigator Kathryn Benhoff, Kaufmann said Desmarais had "added about 30 degrees of flaps after it had been previously discussed that he would not, due to the extended length of the runway," a synopsis said.

After radioing in on the common traffic frequency, Kaufmann looked at the airspeed indicator and noticed they had lost about 20 to 30 knots.


Desmarais then added thrust from the right engine, Kaufmann said, which made the problem worse and caused the airplane to veer left and lose more altitude.

That caused the aircraft to stall.

At that point, Kaufmann took control of the plane, reduced power to idle the engine and tried to level the wings, the report said.

The plane "impacted the airport ramp area with 'excessive vertical speed,'" causing substantial damage to both wings, both ailerons and the fuselage.

Both Desmarais and Kaufmann reported there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have prevented normal operation of the aircraft.

The incident occurred around 3:30 p.m. 


The two were not injured in the crash and were able to exit the aircraft through the doorway.

Both were wearing three-point restraints at the time of the accident.

In the accident report Kaufmann prepared, he said the pilot should have maintained altitude and airspeed and minimized drag on the single-engine approach to prevent the crash.

Prior to the flight, Kaufmann had spent 2,079 hours in total flying, including 1,528 in single-engine airplanes and 87 in a Beechcraft 95-B55.

Desmarais had logged 3,180 flight hours, 3,020 of which were in a single-engine airplane.

Just six of those hours were in a Beechcraft 95-B55, the report said.

Both have private, flight-instructor and commercial-pilot certificates.


Plattsburgh Airport Manager Chris Kreig told the Press-Republican earlier that airport firefighters, rescue crews and maintenance staff, along with Clinton County Sheriff's deputies, responded immediately to assist at the accident site.

Services were not disrupted as a result of the crash, though a taxiway was closed for a time.