Saturday, January 2, 2016

Pilot Hubie Tolson: Testing last surviving experimental aircraft of its kind

The Windecker Eagle, housed at the Coastal Carolina Airport, is the only surviving one of the seven experimental aircraft built in 1969.



The Windecker Eagle is a curious but beautiful piece of aviation history that will be setting at the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport for a few more days.

It is the last of seven experimental airplanes built in 1969 – or it is the last two, depending on how you look at it. This airplane was built using scavenged parts of two wrecked airplanes that had been sitting out in the weather in Canada for 35 years.

The airplane, now owned by a Chinese billionaire who is looking to produce airplanes of his own, according to Hubie Tolson.

Tolson, a local entrepreneur, and pilot, best known for his stunt-flying aerobatics, is test-flying the plane locally.

In a way, the airplane is impractical, particularly in its four-seater design.

“You can’t use the back seats,” Tolson said. “They were designed by engineers, not by artists.”

The rear seats are four or five inches off the floor of the airplane, and there is nowhere for riders to put their legs.

Even if they could, Tolson said, the airplane couldn’t carry more than two adults unless it were flying on only half a tank.

Also, the airplane has a few flying quirks. One is its tendency to go into uncontrolled spins when it stalls. Two or three of the originals crashed due to this rather bad habit.

Tolson suspects it was that seat thing that kept the airplane from going into full production.

But what makes the plane historic is that it was the first all-composite airplane with no metal frame. That construction is called monocoque – a method that, like an egg, supports the structure via its outer skin rather than through a skeletal structure.

Many modern aircraft are built using the same method.

…But a method that keeps Tolson wary. “We’re being very gentle,” he said.

The Windecker Eagle, oddly enough, was designed by a dentist, Leo “Doc” Windecker and his wife.

Windecker, a pilot, had customers and friends who worked for Dow Chemical, a company he learned was experimenting with fiberglass-reinforced structures. He and his wife experimented and came up with an epoxy glass fiber, “Fibaloy.” They patented it and convinced Dow to give them $20 million to design and build their airplane.

Despite a few deficiencies, Tolson said the airplane is remarkable. Flying at a speed of 200 mph, he said, “it was one of the fastest things going… It’s not a sports car, but it’s a nice stable platform.”

Wei Hang, the Chinese entrepreneur, purchased and restored the aircraft, putting millions of dollars into it. He plans to keep it at his home in Xiang, “the aviation capital of China,” according to Tolson.

 Several aviation publications report that Hang plans to restart manufacturing of the Windecker Eagle in China and production is scheduled to being in 2016.

Tolson said he does not see Hang’s taking the plane as the U.S. losing any history: “He saved our history when no one else would have,” he said.

Currently, Tolson is test flying the airplane. “Woolies,” short pieces of orange string that can be observed by the pilot as it flies to help him determine how the air moves over the wings, dot the wings.

Tolson said he has stalled the airplane a few times — no deadly spins yet, but he wears a parachute when he flies so if a problem comes up, “I just roll out.

“I’ve been compiling a list of tweaks and problems,” he said. Once testing is complete, the airplane will be taken to Mooresville, for the final tweaks.

Then it will be shipped to its final destination via what Tolson calls a “cookie sheet” — that is, a shipping palate flown airfreight overseas.

He will probably fly the airplane to Mooresville after Aviation Press arrives on Jan. 5 to take pictures and do a story.

The airplane is not on display for the public, but if you keep your eye on the sky, you might just see the Windecker Eagle fly by with Tolson in the cockpit.

Source:  http://www.newbernsj.com

CAE USA: Tampa firm makes 75 percent of the world’s flight simulators

Raymond G. Duquette is president and general manager of CAE USA, which makes makes simulators for military and civilian applications. 



TAMPA — On any given day, military pilots and flight crews from countries such as Peru, Japan or Sweden are sequestered in flight simulators near Tampa International Airport, training to confront hurricanes or enemy fire and learning how to care for wounded warriors in flight.

Across the country and across the globe, flight simulators built and equipped by the Tampa company CAE USA are in use for military purposes and also in civil aviation. The company builds 75 percent of the world’s flight simulators and also trains pilots at its Tampa campus.

Some 500 CAE employees, many of them engineers, are responsible for completing the simulation systems that prepare the U.S. military and pilots worldwide to train for real-world issues they may encounter. Chances are, the pilot and crew on the flight from your local airport have at one time trained on a flight simulator created by CAE.

Last month, a Russian-made Antonov An-124 — the world’s second-largest aircraft — flew into Tampa International to pick up a CAE flight simulator to deliver to the Royal Danish Navy. The week before, a CAE simulator left Tampa for the Australian military.

The simulators are made to look and feel like C-130 airplane cockpits — the worldwide mainstay among cargo and troop-carrier aircraft for decades — or Seahawk helicopters, among other aircraft. They are meant to immerse flight crews in a realistic environment so that when they do face real issues, such as enemy fire, they will be ready, said CAE President and General Manager Ray Duquette.

“We do both training and mission rehearsal with multiple simulators networked. A crew may do a briefing just like they would for a real flight, then experience threats against them like they’ll see in the field,” Duquette explained. “We replicate what we believe will happen” for airplane and helicopter pilots, as well as those operating Predator and Reaper drones.

Pilots experience engine failure and learn how to get to the wounded on the ground, and crews learn how to treat patients evacuated from war zones.

“We’re really trying to accelerate the experience for the crews,” said Chris Stellwag, CAE’s Tampa spokesman. Like a military officer once told him, “it’s the process of putting old heads on young shoulders.”

“Right now, we’ve got five C-130 simulators on site and they’re all different,” Duquette said. Last month, pilots from the Chilean Air Force used one simulator while the U.S. Coast Guard trained on another. Crews from Poland, Afghanistan, Sweden and South Africa also were training at the Tampa campus that day.

CAE USA reaches nearly every continent, but there are some countries it cannot do business with for security reasons — Syria, Iran, North Korea, China and Venezuela.

“It’s experience you need before going in harm’s way,” said Duquette, a former U.S. Marine pilot who served in the military for 29 years. “It’s not just airplanes. It’s also cars, trucks and tanks.”

Duquette, who also sits on the board of the Florida High Tech Corridor, said much of the brain power working to create simulation software and conduct training for CAE USA comes from the University of South Florida, the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida, all schools to which the company contributes scholarships. CAE has found that job recruits from Florida institutions are just as well educated as those from universities like Georgia Tech and Purdue, but they are more likely to stay because they have local ties.

In addition to its work with flight simulators, CAE also creates virtual patients that military medical personnel use for training. The “bodies,” which can bleed, scream and wince, are produced in Sarasota and are a growing part of CAE’s business.

It is also working more on creating virtual scenarios that can be used by first responders and emergency operations crews in preparation for events like floods, hurricanes or snowstorms.

The company has more than 60 training centers worldwide where some 120,000 pilots and crew members go for simulator training each year. In Tampa specifically, about 1,200 come for C-130 air crew and maintenance training.

Defense and security accounts for 40 to 45 percent of CAE USA’s revenue, or about $1 billion annually, Stellwag said. The simulators the company builds for the military can run from $5 million to $50 million each. Civilian aircraft simulators sell for $10 million to $12 million.

In its last fiscal year, CAE USA made about $1.6 billion in revenue. The defense and security business unit accounted for about 40 percent of revenue, with the civil business unit accounting for about 55 percent of the company’s revenue. Health care accounted for another 5 percent of revenue.

With the acquisition of a NATO training center recently, the defense business will probably be responsible for closer to 43 or 44 percent of the company’s overall revenue this fiscal year, Stellwag said.

CAE has about 8,000 employees worldwide. Its parent company is located in Montreal.

“We do everything we can to achieve flawless execution,” Duquette said. “We’re on the tip of the spear of technology.”

The C-130 aircraft, for example, have been around for decades but have been upgraded through the years. CAE keeps on top of those upgrades so the experience pilots and crew members get is identical or nearly so to experiencing the planes they actually fly.

CAE USA is among the top 100 employers of military veterans nationwide. Some 60 to 70 percent of the 1,000 employees across the country are former military.

Story and photos:  http://www.tbo.com

Plane Crazy Christmas Edition: Dick Rutan and daughter Jill Rutan Hoffman stop by Mojave Air and Space Port

Dick Rutan and Jill Rutan Hoffman speak at Mojave Air and Space Port.



Mojave - Last Saturday’s Plane Crazy event at the Mojave Air and Space Port was one for the books and certainly well worth the time for any and all who did attend a very special Christmas edition of the monthly aviation event. 

None other than Jill Rutan Hoffman, the twice published aviation author, Mojave native, and daughter of World Record setting aviation legend Dick Rutan stopped by MASP to speak on her recollections of growing up in one of the most famous families in America. 

Watching the growth of the legendary duo of Dick and brother Burt Rutan as they custom built or “Homebuilt” as Jill put it,  their own aviation kingdom, setting record after record along the way, including the round the world non-stop-unrefueled flight of the Voyager in 1986, and the backstory on that which most have never heard.  

Jill told of her childhood growing up here in Mojave while her Dad was off setting records above, and recalling how windy it gets here in the desert, finding solace in the family bathtub when it got especially strong. She spoke of not realizing that her family was different in any way while growing up though not too many kids today can boast of custom aircraft being built in the garage and then flown high over the desert in death-defying self-experimentation and design.  

She said she finally realized when someone referred to “The Nut-jobs” down the way building an airplane in their garage that brought it home. As she grew, watching her dad and Uncle smash records it all became routine living among a family of American Heroes known for steel nerves, courage, and sheer brilliance that still to this day are pushing the envelope of aviation with Uncle Burt being the founder of Scaled composites, and co-founder of The Spaceship Company. 

When she spoke of her memories of the Voyager flight she was old enough by then to understand the levity of what her dad was doing, telling of the tense days leading up to the launch of the still untested aircraft for the challenge they were about to undertake in it.  

For three days Air Force personnel knocked on the door only to tell her dad the weather was bad and “No flight”, then Dick himself fell ill on the fourth day only to have the fifth be perfect and the flight day Dec. 18th at 8:01 a.m. the Voyager taxied out onto the tarmac and then the runway. This was a custom plane Dick and brother Burt built by selling posters of the craft for $10 dollars each, swearing off corporate sponsorship in lieu of self-achievement seeking out donations to build it “Hat in Hand” as Jill put it. As dad rolled the Voyager to the runway Jill was standing right there alongside to wave to her Dad as he took off. 

Little did people know that inside that craft, Dick Rutan was certain that the craft would not get off the ground and that he would not make it past the end of the runway. With young daughter Jill waving to him, immediately things went wrong on the historic flight when the wing tips started scraping the ground as the airplane began down the runway.  

Jill stated during the speech that she very nearly saw a horrific sight right then and there without realizing it, while back inside the Voyager, Dick Rutan and Co-Pilot Jeana Yeager steadied the plane and managed to get it off the ground. 

It then become a 9 day endurance test that saw engine failure, terrible bouts with weather, sleep deprivation, no toilets, and the uncertainty of the nascent craft itself all to contend with. When the duo did finally get back to Edwards, Dick was so tired he couldn’t recall if he had asked for clearance when leaving, bringing the room to laughter.  

Upon landing Jill said her dad asked why there were so many people there that day and “Did the Shuttle land?” not realizing that it was all for he and Jeana and Burt’s legendary Voyager plane which now hangs in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. “He’s a Hero” she said matter of factly and with no exaggeration. 

 She said that on one visit while her Dad was looking up at the Voyager in the Smithsonian he said to her “They can take anything they want from me, but they can never take away the fact that I built (and flew) that plane.”

Golden Arms test pilot, world record setting living aviation legend, American Hero, and still “Dad”. Jill has founded ‘Looking Skywayd’ which is an organization that connects STEM classrooms to aerospace careers. Her books “First Flights” and “Oshkosh Memories” as well as her own daughter Noelle’s books are available online at jillrutanhoffman.com. Meanwhile all day her father Dick was wowing the crowd with gift rides to the lucky few and roaring over the airport in his personal Rutan-Ez plane replete with Golden Eagle paint job.  

Source:  http://www.desertnews.com

Kevin Metzler Velocity STD RG, N133SV: Accident occurred January 02, 2016 near Rosamond Skypark Airport (L00), Kern County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

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

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California 

http://registry.faa.gov/N133SV

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA047 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 02, 2016 in Rosamond, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/06/2017
Aircraft: KEVIN METZLER Velocity STD RG, registration: N133SV
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

Shortly after departure on the local flight, the private pilot observed that the engine temperature was higher than it had been on the previous day's flight. After reducing power, the engine began to surge, which prompted the pilot to return to the airport. Unable to maintain altitude, the pilot elected to land in a vacant field. The left wing sustained substantial damage during the landing. A postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the No. 1 connecting rod assembly had failed. Although the reason for the failure could not be determined, the fracture surfaces exhibited signatures of fatigue consistent with a malfunction of the connecting rod bearing, such as improper bearing size, rotation of the bearing during service, or operation of a severely worn bearing. Such conditions would result in higher-than-normal operating stress, and likely contributed to the propogation of the fatigue cracking.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A partial loss of engine power due to failure of the No. 1 connecting rod as a result of multiple fatigue cracks for reasons that could not be determined during on postaccident examination.

On January 2, 2016, about 1430 Pacific standard time, a Kevin Metzler Velocity STD RG experimental amateur-built airplane, N133SV, was substantially damaged following a loss of engine power and subsequent forced landing about 1 mile northwest of the Rosamond Skypark Airport (L00), Rosamond, California. The private pilot, who was the owner and sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed L00 about 5 minutes prior to the accident.

In a report submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported after taking off he climbed with the engine rpm set at about 4,500, "…which was well below the engines rated redline of 5,400 rpm." The pilot stated that when he reached an altitude of 7,000 ft, he noticed that the [engine] temperature was much higher than it had been the previous day, which prompted him to level off and reduce power. Shortly after the power reduction the engine began to surge; at this time the pilot decided to return to the departure airport, about 10 miles to the east of his location. The pilot reported that he attempted to maintain as much altitude as possible, and while en route the engine began to lose power, which made altitude more difficult to maintain. The pilot opined that when he realized that he would not be able to make it to the airport, he elected to land in a vacant field about one and one-half miles west of L00. After landing with the gear retracted, the airplane came to rest in an upright position.

The airplane, which was equipped with a Subaru EG-33 engine, serial number 007708, rated at 230 horsepower, had accumulated a total of 6.8 hours since its most recent overhaul; the total engine time was unknown. The pilot reported that the most recent condition inspection was performed on December 1, 2015, at a total airframe time of 66.8 hours.

An initial postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the No. 1 connecting rod assembly had failed, which resulted in the loss of power. The NTSB IIC took possession of the connecting rod assembly, in addition to two pieces that had separated from the assembly. The retained parts were shipped to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C., for examination and analysis by a Senior Metallurgist. As a result of his examination, the metallurgist reported that the connecting rod assembly had fractured in four areas. An attachment bolt and nut remained attached to a fractured piece of the arm and cap portion. The second attachment bolt, a portion of the second arm, and a portion of the cap had separated from the connecting rod assembly, however, were not recovered during the investigation. Additionally, examination of the fracture faces revealed fatigue cracks emanated from multiple origins at the machined cut out area adjacent to the through-hole for each attachment bolt. Fatigue cracks with multiple origins were also observed on the mating fracture faces. The fatigue crack origin areas were aligned and parallel to circumferential machine marks. The rough texture of the fatigue crack features was consistent with a fatigue crack that had propagated under high stress. The fatigue crack in each mating fracture propagated through at least 50% of the wall. Further, the fracture faces outside of the fatigue regions exhibited rough dimple texture features consistent with overstress separation. The round surfaces that corresponded to the location of the bearings showed evidence of rough circumferential gouge marks, but no evidence of heat tinting was observed. (Refer to the NTSB Materials Laboratory factual report, which is appended to the docket for this accident.)

On January 26, 2016, under the supervision of the NTSB IIC, an examination of the engine was performed at the facilities of Outfront Motorsport, located in Santa Ana, California. With the exception of the engine's No. 1 connecting rod assembly which had failed, and the stuck piston of the pressure relief valve on the oil pump, there were no anomalies observed with the engine that would have precluded normal operation. According to the Outfront Motorsport general manager, during normal operations the pressure relief valve opens to relieve oil pressure when it is too high, and remains closed in order to build and sustain oil pressure. When observed during the postaccident examination, the piston portion of the valve was stuck closed. When the component was liquid tested to check for leakage past the piston, the valve retained liquid, which indicated that the valve was not stuck in the open position. After the piston was forced to the open position, debris was observed in the component which had kept it closed. The debris was consistent with bearing material that had invaded the area subsequent to the engine failure.

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA047
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 02, 2016 in Rosamond, CA
Aircraft: KEVIN METZLER Velocity STD RG, registration: N133SV
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 January 2, 2016, about 1430 Pacific standard time, a Kevin Metzler Velocity STD RG experimental amateur-built airplane, N133SV, was substantially damaged following a loss of engine power and subsequent forced landing about 1 mile northwest of the Rosamond Skypark Airport (L00), Rosamond, California. The private pilot, who was the owner and sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed L00 about 5 minutes prior to the accident.

In a report submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported after taking off he climbed with the engine rpm set at about 4,500, "…which was well below the engines rated redline of 5,400 rpm." The pilot stated that when he reached an altitude of 7,000 ft, he noticed that the [engine] temperature was much higher than it had been the previous day, which prompted him to level off and reduce power. Shortly after the power reduction the engine began to surge; at this time the pilot decided to return to the departure airport, about 10 miles to the east of his location. The pilot reported that he attempted to maintain as much altitude as possible, and while en route the engine began to lose power, which made altitude more difficult to maintain. The pilot opined that when he realized that he would not be able to make it to the airport, he elected to land in a vacant field about one and one-half miles west of L00. After landing with the gear retracted, the airplane came to rest in an upright position.

The airplane, which was equipped with a Subaru EG-33 engine, serial number 007708, rated at 230 horsepower, had accumulated a total of 6.8 hours since its most recent overhaul; the total engine time was unknown. The pilot reported that the most recent condition inspection was performed on December 1, 2015, at a total airframe time of 66.8 hours.

An initial postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the No. 1 connecting rod assembly had failed, which resulted in the loss of power. The NTSB IIC took possession of the connecting rod assembly, in addition to two pieces that had separated from the assembly. The retained parts were shipped to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C., for examination and analysis by a Senior Metallurgist. As a result of his examination, the metallurgist reported that the connecting rod assembly had fractured in four areas. An attachment bolt and nut remained attached to a fractured piece of the arm and cap portion. The second attachment bolt, a portion of the second arm, and a portion of the cap had separated from the connecting rod assembly, however, were not recovered during the investigation. Additionally, examination of the fracture faces revealed fatigue cracks emanated from multiple origins at the machined cut out area adjacent to the through-hole for each attachment bolt. Fatigue cracks with multiple origins where also observed on the mating fracture faces. The fatigue crack origin areas were aligned and parallel to circumferential machine marks. The rough texture of the fatigue crack features was consistent with a fatigue crack that had propagated under high stress. The fatigue crack in each mating fracture propagated through at least 50% of the wall. Further, the fracture faces outside of the fatigue regions exhibited rough dimple texture features consistent with overstress separation. The round surfaces that corresponded to the location of the bearings showed evidence of rough circumferential gouge marks, but no evidence of heat tinting was observed. (Refer to the NTSB Materials Laboratory factual report, which is appended to the docket for this accident.)

On January 26, 2016, under the supervision of the NTSB IIC, an examination of the engine was performed at the facilities of Outfront Motorsport, located in Santa Ana, California. With the exception of the engine's No. 1 connecting rod assembly which had failed, and the stuck piston of the pressure relief valve on the oil pump, there were no anomalies observed with the engine that would have precluded normal operation. According to the Outfront Motorsport general manager, during normal operations the pressure relief valve opens to relieve oil pressure when it is too high, and remains closed in order to build and sustain oil pressure. When observed during the postaccident examination, the piston portion of the valve was stuck closed. When the component was liquid tested to check for leakage past the piston, the valve retained liquid, which indicated that the valve was not stuck in the open position. After the piston was forced to the open position, debris was observed in the component which had kept it closed. The debris was consistent with bearing material that had invaded the area subsequent to the engine failure.


NTSB Identification: WPR16LA047
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 02, 2016 in Rosamond, CA
Aircraft: KEVIN METZLER Velocity STD RG, registration: N133SV
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 January 2, 2016, about 1430 Pacific standard time, a Kevin Metzler Velocity STD RG experimental amateur-built airplane, N133SV, was substantially damaged following a loss of engine power and forced landing about 1 mile northwest of the Rosamond Skypark Airport (L00), Rosamond, California. The private pilot, who was also the owner of the airplane and its sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed L00 about 5 minutes prior to the accident.

In a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that he departed L00 to the west, and about 10 miles from the airport "the engine hesitated, corrected itself, then hesitated again." The pilot stated that he then proceeded back toward the departure airport, however, about 5 miles from the runway the engine lost power. The pilot subsequently made an off-airport forced landing, which resulted in substantial damage to the airplane.

The airplane was recovered to a secured location for further examination.

BAKERSFIELD, California -  The Sheriff's department said a pilot is injured after landing a plane in a rural area of Rosamond. 

It happened just before 3 p.m. near Mojave-Tropico Road and Irone Avenue. 

That's a couple miles away from the nearest landing strip.

Sheriff's officials said the pilot has minor injuries and the plane was damaged in the hard landing. 

It's unknown where the plane was coming from, or where it was headed. 

The Sheriff's department said the Federal Aviation Administration has been notified. 

We tried to contact the FAA, but no one was immediately available to comment.



There was a plane that had a hard landing in the Rosamond area – near Mojave-Tropico Rd. at about 2:35 p.m. Saturday. The Velocity experimental aircraft landed hard at Rosamond, Allen Kenitzer with the FAA said. Local authorities say that only the pilot was on board and he was not injured. The aircraft sustained minor damage.

Channel Islands Aviation: Camarillo aviation school to offer new pilot program

Channel Islands Aviation Del Kienholz (left), assistant chief flight instructor at Channel Islands Aviation, is shown with Sonny DaSilva, the first student in the company’s degree program with Liberty University.



We just recognized the demand in the local area here for flight training, especially career-oriented training, because of the pilot shortage. It really is an issue. We recognized that a program being online will give students the flexibility to both fly, do their online studies and still have a job."

How would you like to have an office at 30,000 feet, with a view from your window of endless blue skies?

For those who have been thinking about getting a pilot's license and a college degree, now might be the time. A new partnership between Channel Islands Aviation in Camarillo and Liberty University in Virginia gives would-be pilots the opportunity to learn to fly and earn a bachelor of science degree in aeronautics in as little as 2½ years.

Channel Islands Aviation is the newest flight training school to affiliate with the university. Liberty offers academic courses online while students learn to fly at one of 40 flight training schools.

Channel Islands enrolled its first student Dec. 15, said Sarah Oberman Bartush, its flight school manager and chief marketing officer. The company is owned and operated by the Oberman family of Camarillo and is a Federal Aviation Administration-approved school, she said. Jan. 1 marks Channel Islands' 40th year in business.

"We're pretty excited about it, and I hope to make a difference in the area here for people who want to pursue a degree and flight training together," she said. This is the first time her company has partnered with a college in a bachelor's degree program, she said.

"We just recognized the demand in the local area here for flight training, especially career-oriented training, because of the pilot shortage. It really is an issue. We recognized that a program being online will give students the flexibility to both fly, do their online studies and still have a job," she said.

The course includes 250 to 300 hours of flight training. Students can take courses year-round and earn the degree in 2½ years, said Brian Hough, executive director of business development and affiliate operations for Liberty University's School of Aeronautics.

Based in Lynchburg, Liberty is a Christian liberal arts university that offers 450 majors online. Annual enrollment includes more than 15,000 residential students and over 100,000 online students, Hough said. During the past 12 years, the university's flight program has grown to over 600 residential students and over 1,000 online students, Hough said.

Career options for students with the degree include certified flight instructor or commercial airline, air cargo, corporate, charter, military or missionary pilot. Students study aerodynamics, aviation safety and weather, among other subjects.

Students with no prior flight experience pay $40,000 for tuition and about $60,000 for all of the flight instruction, for a $100,000 total cost, Hough said.

Hough said Camarillo is an ideal location for Liberty's online flight students. "It's a very entrepreneurial family-owned company, which impressed me," he said.

Enrollment is now open, and classes begin Jan. 18.

Source:  http://www.vcstar.com

Cessna 172S, N947SP, Central Iowa Aviation LLC : Accident occurred January 02, 2016 at Newton Municipal Airport (KTNU), Jasper County, Iowa

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA093
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 02, 2016 in Newton, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/05/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N947SP
Injuries: 1 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.

According to the pilot, his intent was to perform a touch and go landing on a runway with patches of snow extending from the approach end to the departure end. The pilot reported that the touchdown and landing roll were uneventful. He reported that as he aborted the landing and configured the airplane for takeoff, he retracted the flaps, advanced the throttle and applied right rudder. He recalled that when he advanced the throttle, the airplane immediately made a sharp left turn, exited the runway to the left, and impacted the residual snow that was previously cleared from the runway. The airplane nosed over and the pilot exited the runway under his own power. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the vertical stabilizer and both wings.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical failures or anomalies prior to or during the flight that would have prevented normal flight operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control during the takeoff, resulting in a runway excursion, and airplane nose over.

CENTRAL IOWA AVIATION LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N947SP

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Des Moines FSDO-61



NEWTON — Newton Emergency Services responded to a 911 call after reports of an airplane that flipped over at Newton Municipal Airport Saturday morning. 

No injuries were reported.

The pilot, Michael Bates of Nevada, was the only occupant on board of the Cessna 172. 

The 911 call came at approximately 9:51 a.m. Saturday morning from an onlooker. 

According to a news release by the Newton Police Department, the plane landed normally, but Bates lost control of the plane and veered off the left side of the runway. 

The crash occurred after the pilot hit a snow embankment, causing the plane to flip.

The door of the singe-engine, propeller-driven aircraft appeared to be jammed following the crash, initially preventing the pilot from getting out. However, Bates had already exited the small plane before emergency vehicles arrived.

Source:  http://www.newtondailynews.com

DARTdrones Flight Academy: Droves of drones spawn hobby flight school

Standing in the center of an abandoned Montgomery County parking lot Saturday morning, seven strangers huddled around a small remote control and waited.

"Alright, take control now," urged Brian Ozga as he handed the device off. "Just not too fast."

Five yards away, a small X-shaped drone blinked red, then green, and whirred to life, jumping ten feet off the ground. For a moment, it glided peacefully, propellers slicing the sky. Then it dipped. Lurched. And finally regained altitude as the crowd below looked on.

At this unlikely meeting spot on a cold weekend morning, a local mayor, an Ecuadorian researcher, and a sailing instructor, among others, were united by just one thing: Their desire to learn - formally - about drones.

And for now, it seems, these hobbyists may be in the minority.

Last year, the U.S. saw a proliferation of drones enter the mainstream like no year before, with an estimated 1 million projected to be sold this holiday season, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Yet the rise of the technology - and the ease in which anyone can acquire it - has also brought a slew of problems that are now tainting the reputation of the burgeoning industry.

Thus, enter drone schools - a group of businesses across the country that are capitalizing on this technology boom. Convinced that drones offer far more benefits than problems, these schools are working not only to educate hobbyists and residents about how to safely fly - but also to change how the public perceives drones.

Ozga, of Boston-based DARTdrones Flight Academy and himself a former commercial pilot, is one of these drone school instructors. Commanding the group of six students at a Residence Inn conference room in North Wales Borough Saturday morning, Ozga discusses everything from how to make a drone fly to how to handle a technology failure before allowing students to test-drive a model aircraft in the abandoned lot next door.

Courses can cost students as much as nearly $430 for a day-long class. Individual seminars run anywhere from $79 to $175 each.

The students come from all backgrounds and all ages: 70-year-old Marcella Ridenour of Gwynedd Township, who wants to use the technology to take aerial videos for the sailing and croquet courses she teaches. Deborah Buzby-Cope, 51, mayor of Bass River Township in Burlington County, N.J., who came to learn so she can better address any drone-related disputes that may emerge among township residents. And Roy Chery, 47, of Ecuador, who came to study drones in the U.S. for three weeks, hoping to take information back to Ecuador to help officials better utilize the technology for surveying the Galapagos Islands.

"How many of you saw the video of the skier?" Ozga asked as he began his course Saturday, referencing a video shared widely last month of a drone nearly hitting a World Cup skiing champion as it fell from the sky during a race. "Yeah ... that doesn't look good for us."

Indeed, a series of high-profile mishaps involving drones this year have convinced many lawmakers, regulators and citizens that hundreds of thousands of drones dotting the airspace are potentially dangerous.

Earlier this year, the technology stoked concern when a drone landed on the White House lawn. And just last week, yet another recreational drone was spotted flying alongside President Obama's motorcade in Hawaii.

These incidents are worrisome, Ozga said, but also perhaps a bit overblown. But as ordinary citizens increasingly acquire drones without backgrounds in flying or without knowledge of regulations, more opportunities for problems can emerge, Ozga said.

"Somebody could crash [a drone] into an airplane or something and the FAA could say, 'No more drones,'" Ozga said. "It just takes one guy to ruin it for everybody."

Ozga said "a lot of gray area" still exists in the industry, meaning education - even more so than regulation - is needed. But schools like DARTdrone, for now, however, are only gaining steam.

To fill the education gap, regulators and state lawmakers have come down hard on the technology, citing potential issues with privacy or even domestic terrorism. Last month, the FAA mandated that all recreational pilots and hobbyists must register drones almost as small as half a pound. And so far, 26 states have enacted drone-related privacy laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Currently, Pennsylvania has none, though Sen. Mike Folmer (R., Lebanon) introduced a bill last year instituting a moratorium on most uses of drones by state and local government agencies, including law enforcement, for two years, except in emergencies. And New Jersey lawmakers have introduced multiple bills tough on drones that now await votes from the full Senate.

And last year while on City Council, Mayor-elect Jim Kenney introduced drone regulations that, among other stipulations, would prohibit the use of the technology above or near gatherings of people. Violators would face a fine of up to $1,000 or 30 days in jail. The proposal was referred; no final action was taken.

For now, drone school teachers and advocates of the technology said a focus instead needs to be on educating about the benefits of drones - which, they say, will help dispel their bad reputation.

"An overreaction, a little bit of hysteria, it's causing lawmakers and regulators to consider, if not promulgate, regulations that are overreaching and ... could hinder the growth of the technology," said Rich Hanson, government and regulatory affairs representative for the Academy of Model Aeronautics, a drone advocacy organization.

"This technology is going to be the next generation of aviation," he said. "In the next decade ... people won't give it any second thought."

Source: http://www.philly.com

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, N540ME, Wright Air Service: Accident occurred January 02, 2016 near Anaktuvuk Pass Airport (PAKP), Alaska

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fairbanks, Alaska

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Wright Air Service Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N540ME

NTSB Identification: ANC16LA012 
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Saturday, January 02, 2016 in Anaktuvuk Pass, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 208B, registration: N540ME
Injuries: 5 Serious, 3 Minor.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 2, 2016, about 1205 Alaska standard time, a single-engine, turbine-powered Cessna 208B airplane, N540ME, impacted mountainous, snow-covered terrain about 6 miles southwest of Anaktuvuk Pass Airport, Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska. The airline transport pilot and four passengers sustained serious injuries, and three passengers sustained minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was being operated by Wright Air Service, Inc., Fairbanks, Alaska, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 visual flight rules (VFR) scheduled commuter flight. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) existed at the Anaktuvuk Pass Airport at the time of the accident, and company flight-following procedures were in effect. The flight departed from Fairbanks International Airport, Fairbanks, Alaska, about 1030 destined for Anaktuvuk Pass. The area between Fairbanks and Anaktuvuk Pass consists of remote, steep mountainous terrain, which is snow-covered in January. 

Following the accident, the pilot stated that, after receiving a weather briefing in the morning from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Service Center, he chose to conduct the flight under VFR. He reported that, while en route to Anaktuvuk Pass about 10,000 ft mean sea level (msl), the visibility began "getting fuzzy" as he flew over the Caribou Hills. He then descended to 2,500 ft msl (or 500 ft above ground level) to fly along the John River. When the airplane was about 10 miles southwest of Anaktuvuk Pass, he climbed to about 3,000 ft msl to be at the published airport traffic pattern altitude while maintaining a flight track on the east side of the river valley to conduct a straight-in approach to runway 2. He added that the visibility was again a little "fuzzy"; that there was snow, white walls, and white clouds; and that he never saw the airport. The pilot noted that the flat light conditions limited his ability to determine his distance from the surrounding snow-covered, mountainous terrain. Shortly after climbing to 3,000 ft msl, the airplane collided with the rising snow-covered terrain about 6 miles southwest of the Anaktuvuk Pass Airport. The pilot stated that he did not remember any ground proximity warning system alerts before the collision. In a subsequent written statement, the pilot reported no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The airplane's Spidertracks flight tracking system transmitted flight tracking data every 2 minutes. A review of the data revealed that the airplane's last reported location was along the east side of the John River valley at an altitude of 2,560 ft msl on a ground track of about 48°.

Immediately following the accident, a passenger used a cell phone to call for rescue from Anaktuvuk Pass residents. About 20 minutes later, rescue personnel located the airplane and began extricating passengers from the wreckage and transporting them via snow machine to Anaktuvuk Pass for medical attention.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 57, held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and multiengine land ratings. The pilot was issued a first-class airman medical certificate on October 1, 2015 with the limitation that he must have available glasses for near vision.

The accident pilot completed CFIT avoidance training on May 26, 2015. On November 21, 2015 the pilot successfully completed an airman competency and proficiency check in accordance with 14 CFR 135.293 and 135.297 which included CFIT avoidance.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane, a Cessna 208B, N540ME, was manufactured in 1996. At the time of the last inspection on December 9, 2015, the airplane had logged a total time in service of 19,555.4 flight hours. 

The airplane was equipped with a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-114A, 675 shaft horse power turbine engine. The engine had a total time in service of 8,915.4 hours, of which 3,542.4 hours were since the last overhaul.

The airplane was equipped with a Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS). The pilot did not recall inhibiting the system, which required navigation through several data pages within the GPS unit. The airplane was not equipped with a remote inhibit switch and due to system design and a lack of non-volatile memory, the status of the system could not be determined post-accident.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest weather reporting facility was Anaktuvuk Pass Airport, located about 6 miles northeast of the accident site. At 1156, a METAR was reporting, in part, wind from 170° at 5 knots; sky condition, broken clouds at 4,400 ft, overcast at 5,000 ft; visibility 6 statute miles; temperature 19°F, dew point 12°F; and altimeter setting 29.03 inches of mercury. 

The FAA maintained weather cameras at Anaktuvuk Pass, which recorded images to the northeast, southeast, south, and southwest; the site elevation was 2,171 ft msl. A review of the recorded images revealed deteriorating weather conditions about the time of the accident. The south-facing camera showed that, between 1152 and 1212, the visibility was less than 2 miles, that ceiling conditions were below 4,100 ft msl, and that snow was falling. Weather conditions improved slightly by 1222 with visibility greater than 2 miles but less than 4 miles and a broken cloud ceiling. Overall, the camera images showed that, although conditions were marginal VFR at the surface at the time of the accident, there was mountain obscuration and reduced visibility due to light snow and clouds along the accident flightpath and that the worst conditions existed along and near the higher terrain at the time of the accident. The pilot reported that he did not check the FAA weather cameras before departure because it was dark at Anaktuvuk Pass at the time of departure.

Another pilot who had just departed from Anaktuvuk Pass reported that he contacted the accident pilot as he was approaching the airport and stated that the weather was "pretty much as advertised." The other pilot added that he had encountered flat light conditions after departing Anaktuvuk Pass, which was "compounded by low visibility," and that, to remain in VMC, he had to turn toward the north side of the valley and initiate a climb. The pilot stated that he perceived that the flat light and low-visibility conditions were highly localized.

FLIGHT RECORDERS

The accident airplane was not equipped, nor was it required to be equipped with, a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

On January 3, two FAA aviation safety inspectors traveled to Anaktuvuk Pass and reached the accident site that morning. The inspectors reported that the main wreckage was in an open area of snow-covered tundra at an elevation of about 2,500 ft msl. The top of the ridge where the airplane impacted was at an elevation of about 3,000 ft msl. From the initial point of impact, the airplane slid downhill about 300 ft and then came to rest in an upright position. The FAA inspectors reported finding a 1/2-inch layer of ice on the nonprotected, leading edge surfaces of the tail structure and outside air temperature probe. However, no ice was present on the areas protected by the inflatable deice boots. 

The airplane wreckage was further examined by the NTSB IIC, two Textron Aviation air safety investigators, and a representative from the operator. The examination revealed that the airplane had sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage. Flight control primary and secondary cable continuities were established from the cockpit controls to the respective flight control bell cranks and trim surface actuators. The flight control surfaces remained attached to the airplane except for the left aileron, which was separated outboard of the inboard hinge. The left aileron control rod was separated. The separated left aileron was observed during the initial on-scene examination, but due to recent snowfall, the remaining portion of aileron was not recovered with the airplane wreckage. The pitch trim actuator extensions were altered at the accident site to facilitate recovery. The aileron trim actuator was found in the "neutral" position. The flap actuator screw jack extension indicated that the flaps were retracted. The engine had separated from the firewall at the attachment points. Rotational scarring at the propeller hub attachment points were consistent with the engine operating at the time of impact.

The examination revealed no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with the airplane or engine that would have precluded normal operation. 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed toxicological testing on specimens from the pilot on February 12, 2016 which was negative for ethanol and drugs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Medallion Foundation

According to the Medallion Foundation Shield Program website, the purpose of the Shield Program was to create and maintain a higher level of safety through the use of system safety and safety management system principles. An applicant needed to earn a "star" in each of the following categories to earn a shield:

• Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) avoidance

• Operational control

• Maintenance and ground service

• Safety

• Internal evaluation

To earn a star, an applicant organization had to complete specific training classes, produce a required manual, and undergo an external audit to determine if the company had incorporated the information into its corporate culture. Following the initial audit, annual independent audits were to be conducted.

According to the Medallion website, the benefits of being a Shield carrier "include reduced insurance rates, cross promotional marketing of Shield carriers and recognition by DOD [Department of Defense], OGP [Oil and Gas Producers] and the FAA as an operator who incorporates higher standards of safety than required by regulations."

At the time of the accident, Wright Air Service was the holder of a CFIT avoidance "star." 

Flat Light Conditions

In the FAA publication titled, "Flying in Flat Light and White Out Conditions," flat light is defined as an optical illusion that causes pilots to lose their depth perception and contrast in vision. It states that flat light can completely obscure features of the terrain, creating an inability to distinguish distances and closure rates.

NTSB Identification: ANC16LA012
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Saturday, January 02, 2016 in Anaktuvuk Pass, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 208B, registration: N540ME
Injuries: 5 Serious, 3 Minor.

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 January 2, 2016, about 1205 Alaska standard time, a Cessna 208B Caravan airplane, N540ME, sustained substantial damage after impacting terrain about 6 miles southwest of the Anaktuvuk Pass Airport, Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by Wright Air Service, Inc., Fairbanks, Alaska, as a visual flight rules (VFR) scheduled commuter flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135. Of the eight people on board, the Airline Transport Pilot and four passengers sustained serious injuries, and three passengers sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the Anaktuvuk Pass Airport at the time of the accident, and company flight following procedures were in effect. The flight departed from the Fairbanks Airport, Fairbanks, about 1030, destined for Anaktuvuk Pass. 

Two Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspectors from the Fairbanks Flight Standards District Office reached the accident site on the morning of January 3, 2016. The main wreckage was in an open area of snow-covered tundra, at an elevation of about 2,500 feet msl. The top of the ridge where the airplane impacted is at an approximate elevation of 3,000 feet msl. From the initial point of impact, the airplane traveled about 300 feet before coming to rest in an upright position. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wings. A detailed wreckage examination is pending, following recovery of the airplane.

In an interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge, along with another NTSB investigator on January 6, 2015, in Anchorage, Alaska, the pilot stated that he was flying along the John's River about 2,500 feet msl, 500 feet above ground level (agl) while en route to Anaktuvuk Pass Airport (AKP). About 10 miles from the airport, he began to climb to airport traffic pattern altitude and maintain a flight track on the east side of the river valley to conduct a straight-in approach to runway 2 at AKP. Although some ice was present on the windshield, the deice/anti-ice equipment was operating as designed, and the windshield hot plate remained free of contamination. He stated that due to the overcast skies and snow covered ground, a flat light condition was present. 

The airplane was equipped with a Spidertracks flight tracking system, which provides real-time aircraft flight tracking data. The flight tracking information is transmitted via Iridium satellites to an internet based storage location, at 2-minute intervals. The airplane's last reported location was along the east side of the John's River valley, at an altitude of 2,560 feet msl, on a ground track of about 48 degrees.

Immediately following the accident, a passenger utilized a cellular phone to call for rescue from Anaktuvuk Pass residents. About 20 minutes after the call, the airplane was located and rescue personnel began extricating passengers and transporting them via snow machine to Anaktuvuk Pass for medical attention.

The accident airplane was not equipped, nor was it required to be equipped with a cockpit voice recorder (CVR), or a flight data recorder (FDR).

The closest weather reporting facility is Anaktuvuk Pass Airport, about 6 miles northeast of the accident site. At 1156, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) from the Anaktuvuk Pass Airport was reporting in part: Wind from 170 degrees at 5 knots; sky condition, broken clouds at 4,400 feet, overcast at 5,000 feet; visibility, 6 statute miles; temperature 19 degrees F, dewpoint 12 degrees F; altimeter, 29.03 inHg.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Fairbanks FSDO-01

Maple Grove resident Jeff Hagen, front, tries to climb up to the plane wreckage while two other passengers look on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in the mountains of the central Brooks Range of Alaska, where the plane crashed earlier that day.





Jeff Hagen and seven others survived a plane crash on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in the mountains of the central Brooks Range of Alaska 


In the mountains of the central Brooks Range of Alaska, 250 miles northwest of Fairbanks, Jeff Hagen learned of the story. And the eerie similarities.

A local villager told Hagen about how, in 1976, a small plane had crashed right here, into the very same mountain, pretty much on the exact same spot. There were nine people aboard that plane, the local said. No one survived.

Hearing the story, Hagen knew just how fortunate he and seven others were to be alive.

The Maple Grove resident was aboard a Cessna 208 that crashed into that mountain Saturday while en route from Fairbanks to the tiny village of Anaktuvuk Pass in the Brooks Range, where Hagen is a special education teacher and girls basketball coach.

The pilot and all seven passengers -- educators and students at the school -- and a cocker spaniel also aboard all survived, although a few with significant injuries.

"You don't crash into a mountain and live," said Hagen, 50, who has a home with his wife in Maple Grove but is spending the school year teaching and coaching in Alaska.

But they did. All of them. And on Monday, still nursing sore ribs and other assorted bruises -- nothing was broken -- and taking prescription medications for the pain, Hagen tried to recount as best he could a New Year miracle.

Home in Minnesota for the holiday break, the native of the Red River Valley community of Kennedy started his trek back to Alaska on New Year's Day, flying from Minnesota to Chicago.

From there it was on to Seattle, then to Fairbanks, where he stayed Friday night.

The next morning, Hagen and two other teachers, two students and players on the girls basketball team and the school's principal and her husband and dog and the pilot boarded the 10-seat plane for the 250-mile flight to Anaktuvuk Pass.

For the first 240 miles or so, the trip was routine, Hagen said, the weather reportedly calm with good visibility. A relaxing ride up to that point -- about 10 miles out of Anaktuvuk Pass, Hagen said he was the only one who wasn't sleeping. And while it appeared the plane was flying a bit low, he didn't really think much of it.

"We were flying just fine," said Hagen, who was sitting at the front of the plane. "The windows were icing up, but I've seen that a lot. I think maybe the pilot was having a hard time seeing -- he was flying a little low. I looked back and everyone was sleeping. Everything was cool. The pilot didn't say anything. Then we veered a little right and banked around (the mountains). But I trusted the pilot."

That sense of safety and tranquility changed more quickly than Hagen ever could have imagined.

"Then, I heard "beep, beep, beep" coming from the dash of the plane, and all of a sudden we hit it (the mountain)," Hagen said. "Beep, beep, beep, boom.

"I watched the wing disintegrate into the mountain. And then we hit again, and again. I put my hand in front of my face. I don't know if I could have taken another hit. My life was flashing in front of me. I thought I was going to die. But I wasn't really nervous. It all happened so fast.

"I put my hand up to shield me from the blows. But I think we were going 180 miles an hour. I remember thinking that if I have to take one more shot ... and they were hard -- my head was hitting hard. My shoulder strap snapped. If I wasn't wearing my seat belt, we wouldn't be talking."

According to Hagen, the plane came to rest on only a slight incline.

"It wasn't like a cliff. We were about three-quarters the way up the mountain. It wasn't a huge mountain, but it was still the type you could fall off."

Amazingly, at that time, Hagen said he felt fine. Another teacher and the two students also seemed OK; the three other passengers at the back of the plane were hurt more severely, though, and were trapped in their seats by the wreckage, Hagen said.

The pilot appeared to get the worst of it -- Hagen figured both of the pilot's legs were badly broken. So Hagen and that other teacher pulled him from the mangled remains of the front of the plane and carried him outside, propping him up near the remaining wing. Still feeling no pain, or the effects of the Alaska cold, Hagen said he gave the pilot a heavy shirt that he found in his carry-on and his gloves and cap.

"I wasn't cold and wasn't feeling any pain," Hagen said. "It must have been adrenaline or shock."

But, at about that time, Hagen said he could hear the fuel dripping from the engine.

"I asked the pilot, 'Could the plane start on fire?' And he said, 'I don't think so.' "

Fortunately, it wouldn't.

While Hagen and the other teacher were attending to the pilot, the two students -- an eighth- and a ninth-grader, Hagen said -- climbed to the top of the mountain to see if they could get cell service to call for help. It took a while, and when they did get service, it was only for about 30 seconds, Hagen said, but long enough to get a call through to 911.

"They were amazing," Hagen said of the girls. "To jump out of a plane that had just crashed and climb up to the top of the mountain to get cell service. ... And the eighth-grader, the whole side of her face was messed up."

Hagen said the crash happened at exactly 1 p.m. local time. And, by 2:30, it already was starting to get dark, he said.

After they attended to the pilot and the other passengers the best they could, "Then we had to sit and wait. It was starting to get dark and I was starting to get worried because it was going to be getting real cold soon, too. Then the snowmobiles started coming. They had a hard time finding us. We were waving flashlights (to get their attention).

"That village, to come together like it did -- there's only about 350 people there -- was amazing. They took care of us."

But as rescuers continued to converge on the crash site, for Hagen, the adrenaline or shock or whatever it was that kept him going for the first few hours after the crash started to wear off, and in a hurry.

"It took two hours to get everyone out. Then I started to feel the pain," he said. "It felt like I had broken ribs on my right side. They had to put everyone in those toboggans and bring them down. It was terrible. You could hear the pain. People had broken bones, and they had to go over rocks (in the toboggans)."

The rescuers brought them -- the dog included -- down the mountain and to the clinic in Anaktuvuk Pass, and from there they were to be flown to either Fairbanks or another 130 miles farther to Anchorage, depending on the extent of their injuries, Hagen said.

But, understandably, he wasn't quite ready to get on another plane.

"One (of the emergency medical staffers) was from Maple Grove -- he lives about three miles from me. But I told him I'm not getting on a plane. I was feeling like I had played a football game," said Hagen, a wide receiver at Minot (N.D.) State University in the 1980s. "But he said, 'I'll take care of you.' So he gave me some meds and we talked about the Packers-Vikings game (upcoming Sunday night).

"They took me to the hospital in Anchorage and I had a CAT scan. I was healthy -- no broken bones. But I lost my glasses in the crash, so I was blind. I got a cheap pair of 'cheaters' at Walgreens so I could at least see something."

He's spending the week recovering in Anchorage with his wife, Kristy, who flew in from Minnesota after the ordeal.

As of Tuesday, there was no news of what might have caused the crash.

"I can't believe we're alive," Hagen said. "We shouldn't be. If the wing wouldn't have clipped the mountain, I don't think we would be. Who knows. I think that shot us off at an angle.

"I think that saved us."

Source:  http://www.twincities.com



ANCHORAGE –   A Cessna 208 plane crashed southwest of Anaktuvuk Pass Saturday afternoon, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

No fatalities have been reported, but NTSB spokesman Shawn Williams said all 8 passengers sustained “serious injuries” and before nightfall were transported to Anchorage-area hospitals for treatment.

The crash was reported just after 1 p.m. on Saturday, and rescue crews were dispatched to the scene to assist the victims, according to the NTSB.

The commuter flight was operated by Wright Air Service, and was headed from Fairbanks to Anaktuvuk Pass, according to WAS spokeswoman Kathleen Fagre. She said there were seven passengers aboard the plane, along with the pilot.



Krystal Rose survived Saturday’s crash with only a black eye and bumps on her head.
 – Courtesy Krystal Rose


One of the passengers who survived, 13-year-old Krystal Rose of Anaktuvuk Pass, said she and her friend, Courtney, 15, were on their way home following a vacation when the plane crashed.

“It was me and my best friend,” Rose wrote in a message to KTVA Monday. “We just got off of a vacation and we just wanted to go home and we didn’t expect the plane to crash. It was shocking, I blacked out and didn’t remember much.”

She described the commuter flight as “smooth” for most of the trip, but said “it started getting bad, the wind shield was icy and [we] could barely see.” She also explained that she was dozing off, in and out of sleep during part of the flight.

“I was in shock when we crashed. My best friend got out of the plane and I followed. I asked her if this was real and she said yes. I was crying and I didn’t know what to do,” wrote Rose. ”Within 10 minutes, SAR came and took us home. There was a lot of people at the fire department and I saw my mom and I barely ran to her and she was crying so bad I could barely hear anybody else.”




Rose was discharged from a hospital in Anchorage Monday morning and reported having a “black eye and 5 bumps” on her head, but is otherwise okay.


Winds were calm in the area of the crash, according to Williams. The Federal Aviation Administration was called to the scene to document and investigate the crash site before the plane is moved to a secure hangar for further evaluation, Williams said. He said the pilot had not been able to give a statement to the NTSB or FAA following the crash.

Anaktuvak Pass is located in the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve on the North Slope, northwest of Fairbanks.

Story, comments, video and photo gallery:  http://www.ktva.com




Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration are at the scene of a Saturday afternoon plane crash that seriously injured all eight people on board, the NTSB said. All occupants were transported to Anchorage hospitals following the crash.

NTSB investigator Shaun Williams said they will be speaking with each of the victims once they recover. Cessna, the aircraft manufacturer will also be included in the investigation, he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration will document the  the wreckage before the plane is transported to a secure hangar in the valley, NTSB said.

Williams was unable to comment on the patients' conditions as of Sunday morning.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A Wright Air Service commuter caravan has crashed near Anaktuvuk Pass Saturday afternoon, according to officials with National Transportation Safety Board and Wright Air Service. 

NTSB investigator Shaun Williams told Channel 2 News that the plane was flying from Fairbanks to Anaktuvuk Pass Saturday, when it went down just after 1 p.m. about six miles outside the town. 

Anaktuvuk Pass is located at a 2,200 elevation in the Brooks Range between the Anaktuvuk and John Rivers.

There were eight people on board the plane, including the pilot, according to Wright Air Service official Kathleen Fagre.

While there were no fatalities in the crash some injuries have been reported, Williams says. The number of people injured and their conditions are unknown at the time. 

Steven Evak, a local search and rescue volunteer says he was sleeping when a friend banged on his door. "One of my kids had opened it and he goes 'plane crash plane crash.' So when you hear plane crash you get up." 

"When planes go down no one lives. I'm surprised these people even lived... even in the mountains," Evak said. 

Story and comments:  http://www.ktuu.com

All eight people on board a small plane that crashed near Anaktuvuk Pass Saturday afternoon survived but were seriously injured, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

NTSB investigator Shaun Williams said Sunday that the pilot and all seven passengers on board the Cessna 208 Caravan -- on a scheduled Wright Air Service flight from Fairbanks to Anaktuvuk Pass -- were hospitalized in Anchorage after the plane crashed near its destination Saturday afternoon. 

Officials with the air service said Saturday that the plane went down about 6 miles southwest of the Brooks Range village.

“It departed Fairbanks about 10:30 in the morning and the crash happened about 1 p.m.,” Williams said.

Alaska State Troopers spokesman Tim Despain said troopers didn’t immediately have further details on the crash Sunday morning.

Williams said a weather report from Anaktuvuk Pass at the time of the crash indicated calm winds and 6 miles of visibility, with a cloud ceiling at about 4,200 feet. The NTSB hadn’t received any word so far from the plane’s occupants about what happened.

“We’ve been busy trying to put together all the pieces and get the details,” Williams said Sunday. “Everyone has been taken to area hospitals in Anchorage, and we have not spoken with anyone yet.”

Investigators plan to retrieve the Cessna, Williams said, and bring it to a secure storage facility in the Mat-Su region for further examination.