Monday, January 4, 2016

Beechcraft C33 Debonair, N20XY: Accident occurred January 04, 2016 near Henderson Executive Airport (KHND), Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada

http://registry.faa.gov/N20XY

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA048
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 04, 2016 in Henderson, NV
Aircraft: BEECH 35 C33, registration: N20XY
Injuries: 2 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 4, 2016, about 1715 Pacific standard time, a Beech 35-C33, N20XY, landed short of the runway after experiencing a partial loss of engine power on final approach to the Henderson Executive Airport (HND), Henderson, Nevada. The private pilot and the certified flight instructor (CFI) sustained no injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings. The airplane is registered to, and operated by, the private pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument rules flight plan. The flight originated from Placerville Airport, Placerville, California, at 1405.

The CFI reported that the owner, who is a private pilot, just purchased the airplane and they were flying it to Kentucky. It was a cross-country instructional flight to familiarize the owner with the make and the model of the airplane. The CFI filed the flight plan to Santa Fe, New Mexico; however, they diverted to HND as the owner was not comfortable flying at night. As the CFI entered the final approach to the runway, he realized the engine stopped producing power. He checked the instrument gauges, manipulated the fuel selector and adjusted the throttle in order to regain power; however, he did not have enough altitude to restart the engine. The airplane landed hard short of the runway: subsequently, the nose landing gear collapsed and the airplane came to rest nose down. 

The airplane has been recovered to a secure location for further examination. 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Las Vegas FSDO-19

An unidentified man who was on board the Beechcraft Bonanza single engine plane photographs the plane he was in after it landed hard in the desert short of the Henderson Executive Airport Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Henderson. The plane which was headed to Nashville, Tenn. when it was to divert to Henderson Airport due to inclement weather. Two people were on-board but were not injured.



A small plane bound for Nashville, Tennessee landed just short of the Henderson Executive Airport on Monday afternoon.

Neither of the two people on board was injured, said Chris Jones, McCarran International Airport spokesman. The plane was on its way from Porterville, California, a small city just west of Sequoia National Forest, when Jones said it diverted to Henderson "because of the bad weather."

Jones said investigators on the scene "believe the aircraft lost power on its way down to the runway."

Henderson Fire responded and located the plane, which was on a desert patch near St. Rose Parkway and Alper Center Drive — near Seven Hills Drive — around 5:20 p.m. Because there were no injuries and no fire, aviation officials weren't quick to call it a crash, but Jones said it was "obviously not a normal landing."

Information was not immediately available on who owns the six-seater, single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza plane or who was on board.

Source:  http://www.reviewjournal.com



Authorities are investigating a Monday evening plane crash.

Investigators say a small aircraft from Porterville, California was on it's way to Nashville, Tennessee.

The plane made a diversion to Henderson Executive Airport due to bad weather.

As they were coming in to land, there was a loss of power and the plane came up short to the runway.

The plane landed in a desert area just south of St. Rose Parkway.

Two people were onboard. There were no reported injuries.

Story and video:  http://www.ktnv.com

Beech 200 King Air, N275X, Skyway Aircraft Inc: Accident occurred January 04, 2016 at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (KPIE), Pinellas County, Florida

Skyway Aircraft Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N275X

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Miami FSDO-19

NTSB Identification: ERA16CA080 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 04, 2016 in Clearwater, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/14/2016
Aircraft: BEECH 200, registration: N275X
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.

The pilot of the multiengine turbine-powered airplane departed on a positioning flight to a nearby airport to have the flaps examined. The pilot performed the landing checklist, which included extending the landing gear when the airplane was about 7 miles from the destination airport. Upon contacting the control tower, he was informed that the airplane was number two to land and was provided a vector for sequencing. After about 4 minutes, the pilot was instructed to turn toward the airport and cleared to land. The pilot stated that during his preparation for a no flap landing, he forgot that he had retracted and not subsequently lowered the landing gear. During the landing flare, the control tower stated "gear" and he attempted to abort the landing; however, the airplane contacted the runway and slid to a stop, about 2,500 feet beyond the beginning of the runway. A fuel bladder leak resulted in a fire in the area of the left engine nacelle and substantial damage to the left wing. The pilot stated that he did not hear a landing gear warning horn prior to the accident. According to the airplane flight manual, the landing gear warning would activate intermittently with the gear not down below a certain power setting. Postaccident damage precluded a functional check of the landing gear warning system; however, the pilot stated that he utilized additional power during the no flap landing and that he did not recall the specific power setting used. He further reported about 12,600 hours of total flight experience, which included about 955 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to properly configure the airplane's landing gear prior to landing, which resulted in a gear-up landing.






CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - No one was hurt when a small plane skidded to a stop along a runway at St. Pete Clearwater Airport late this morning.

The plane's landing gear collapsed and one of the two engines caught fire during the emergency landing.  Fire crews quickly extinguished the blaze.

The view from SkyFOX showed several emergency vehicles surrounding the plane, which was still doused in firefighting foam.  Airport officials say the pilot was not hurt.

Swearingen SW Metroliner, Carson Air: Incident occurred January 04, 2016 at Regina International Airport (CYQR), Saskatchewan, Canada



No one was injured when a cargo plane left a runway at Regina International Airport on Monday night.

Two people were on board the plane — a Metroliner cargo aircraft operated by Kelowna-based Carson Air — when its takeoff was aborted at approximately 5:30 p.m., said Regina Airport Authority president and CEO Dick Graham. 

Graham said he was unsure why the pilot chose to abort the takeoff. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada will conduct an investigation.

Carson Air did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The plane ended up sitting about 70 feet off the airport’s shorter runway, Graham said, adding that the process of moving the plane from the grass to the runway can take some time because the plane could be caught in ruts.

“Under normal circumstances, this time of year, we’d have a lot more snow than we do. It’s probably a little easier this year than years previous,” Graham said, adding that there was no indication runway conditions had anything to do with the plane leaving the runway.

The airport’s main runway was unaffected.

Graham said the plane looked to have sustained “some small damage, but not significant.”

Source:  http://leaderpost.com

Yakovlev - Aerostar Yak-52, N912EB, Wyoming Wings LLC: Fatal accident occurred January 04, 2016 near Alpine Airport (46U), Wyoming

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

WYOMING WINGS LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N912EB

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA046
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 04, 2016 in Alpine, WY
Aircraft: AEROSTAR S A YAK 52, registration: N912EB
Injuries: 2 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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 4, 2016, about 1615 mountain standard time, an experimental Aerostar S A YAK 52, N912EB, collided with terrain while maneuvering near Alpine, Wyoming. Wyoming Wings LLC was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot and a private pilot-rated passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed during the accident sequence. The local personal flight departed Alpine about 1530. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

Family members reported that the pilot departed, and went northwest of the airport to perform aerobatic maneuvers. The passenger's father departed on a local sightseeing flight, as did the pilot's son. The passenger's father returned to the airport, landed on runway 13, and was facing southwest on a taxiway as he prepared to depart on runway 31 (standard practice at the airport with winds permitting). He heard the pilot's son report on a 3-mile final straight in for runway 13, and observed the YAK performing aerobatics west of the airport. He departed runway 31, and immediately turned 90 degrees to the west to clear for the landing traffic. As he reached pattern altitude, he observed the accident pilot's son's airplane on a 2-mile final, and then he observed the debris field forming. He flew over the site, and broadcast that the YAK was down. He made a couple of passes over the site before landing.

The pilot's son stated that he departed after his father, and flew along the east side of the reservoir before deciding to turn south to overfly the family's home. He returned to the north and at the bird sanctuary on the south side of the reservoir near the start of the Salt River, he maneuvered to the west side of the reservoir to proceed north. As he proceeded towards McCoy Creek, he dropped over the reservoir, which at that point was frozen over, and covered with snow. He stated that the surface was flat with no cracks, and the lighting was flat as well so that he had difficulty judging his height above the ground. Proceeding north, the surface started to crack, which helped height visualization. Over an open area boat ramp about 7 miles north of the airport, he transitioned to the east side of the lake, and headed south toward the airport. He observed on his GPS that he was about 5 miles from the airport, and made a radio call that he was going to land on runway 13. He observed the passenger's father's airplane take off, and turn to the west. He was about 100 to 200 feet agl over the reservoir about 3 miles out when he heard his father in the YAK make a radio call indicating that the YAK was either going to join up or do a flyby. Because of that transmission, he decided to do a go-around and fly over the airport rather than land. He reported that he and his father had done formation flying, join ups, and flybys previously, and typically his father would break the maneuver off after the join up and low approach. He looked over his shoulder for the join up at his 4- and 7-o'clock positions, and was expecting a call as to which side that would occur. The call did not come, and he never saw the YAK. He then heard the passenger's father contacting him, and after several stressed calls realized that something had not gone right. He proceeded to the area where the other airplane was, and saw a disturbance in the snow. He flew above the other airplane until it departed to land.

An airport resident who had heard the radio transmissions went to his window, and was looking for the YAK to fly over. After hearing the conversations, he contacted the pilots in the air, and notified the local emergency authorities.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) examined the wreckage on site. The debris field was 550 feet long along a magnetic heading of 122 degrees. The first identified point of contact (FIPC) was the principle impact crater (PIC). On the left side of the beginning of the PIC was a piece of the left wing tip, and the pitot tube with about 1 foot of it buried in the soft dirt; a few feet further was a piece of the left aileron. At the end of the PIC was a separated propeller blade. The left wing fragmented into several pieces, and most of them were in the first half of the debris field. The inverted right wing was about 400 feet into the debris field along the debris path centerline. The main wreckage consisting of the fuselage and empennage was 500 feet into the debris field. The last major component was the separated engine at the end of the debris field.

A postaccident wreckage examination identified all control surfaces and major components of the airplane. All identified disconnects in flight control push-pull tubes were angular and jagged; all identified disconnects in flight control cables were splayed.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Casper FSFO-04

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



CHAPEL HILL -- Support is pouring in for the East Chapel Hill high senior killed in a plane crash, last week.

At last check a GoFundMe page set up to honor Mackenzie Ruston's legacy surpassed more than $46,000.  

Ruston recently earned her private pilot's license.

She was killed in a crash near the Wyoming border, along with the plane's owner, 61-year-old Reade Genzlinger.

The money raised through the GoFundMe campaign will support the Bouncing Bulldogs, a program that was near and dear to Ruston’s heart for the last 13 years. 

To donate to the GoFundMe, click here.








Mackenzie Ruston


Mackenzie Ruston

From left, Kenzie Ruston, 15, of East Chapel Hill High, and Anna Reeb, 14, of Carrboro High, perform with the Bouncing Bulldogs in 2013.


CHAPEL HILL (WTVD) -- News of Mackenzie Ruston's death hit her teammates on the Durham Chapel Hill Bouncing Bulldogs competitive jump rope team hard. They knew her as just Kenzie, their team captain and someone who pushed them to be their best.

"If she needed to pat you on the back she would do that if she needed to step on your toes she would do that," said Kenzie's long-time coach Ray Fredrick.

And he said she had no problem voicing suggestions to the coaches if she thought the team would benefit.

"She taught me that coaches can learn from the athlete," Fredrick said.

Mackenzie, 17, a senior at East Chapel Hill High School, died in a plane crash Monday in Wyoming. It happened one day before her 18th birthday.

KIDK reported that Mackenzie and 61-year-old Reade Genzlinger of Bryn Athyn, Penn., were both killed after their plane crashed about 2 miles north of the runway at the Alpine Wyoming airport.

The two were in a Yak 52 Russian trainer aircraft on a recreational flight, KIDK reported. The cause of the crash is unknown.

School officials said no one else from Ruston's family was involved in the accident.

Tom Forcella, Superintendent of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools expressed his condolences.

"Today we grieve as a community. This is the hardest day any of us will ever face," Forcella said. "We will rely on the comfort of one another, and we will do everything in our power to support Mackenzie's family, friends and loved ones."

Kenzie traveled the world with the team and helped win five world championships, most recently in late 2015. She was a fierce competitor and loved to try new things. Her friends say she had her pilot's license, but investigators say she was not at the controls when the recreation flight she was on crashed.

"She was always there, always ready to give a helping hand," said Isabel Osborne, Kenzie's jump-rope co-captain.

Her coach said Kenzie started on the competitive jump rope team when she was just 4 years old. He said right from the beginning, her dedication to the sport was evident. Through the years, the team's typical practice schedule spanned six days a week. Fredrick said she was the first to show up and the last to leave.

"She was a dedicated person to the program and to the sport of jump rope and well loved all over the world and probably one of the most humble individuals I ever met," Fredrick said.

Photographs of happy memories line the wall outside the gym where the Bulldogs practice in Chapel Hill. These images now serve as reminders to the teammates she leaves behind of her smile, her friendship and her drive for the sport.

"Stay in your lane and follow your passion, don't try to live someone else's life and that's who she was," Fredrick said.

East Chapel Hill High School principal Eileen Tully said counseling would be available for students.

"Our condolences certainly go out to Mackenzie's family, friends and her loved ones. Counseling support has been added to our school today from the district to assist students and staff with grieving," Tully said. "If you would like any sort of advice or assistance on how to best engage your child in this difficult conversation, please don't hesitate to call on us. This is a very difficult time for everyone, and your continued support is greatly appreciated."

Story and video:  http://abc11.com


A Chapel Hill teenager whose coach says was one of the best competitive jump ropers in the world was one of two people killed in a plane crash Monday near the Idaho-Wyoming border.

Bonneville County authorities responded to a reported crash Monday afternoon at the edge of Palisades Reservoir, about two miles north of the Alpine Airport. Rescue crews used snowmobiles and rescue sleds to reach the area, which had 2 to 3 feet of snow.

Mackenzie Ruston, 17, of Chapel Hill, and pilot Reade Genzlinger, 61, of Bryn Athens, Pa., were killed at the scene, Bonneville County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Bryan Lovell said. Both are part-time residents of Alpine, Wyo.

The victims’ family members were flying nearby in two other aircraft when Genzlinger’s small plane – a Yak 52 Russian trainer aircraft – went down less than a mile from the Idaho state line, Lovell said. The other planes landed safely, he said.

“The plane (carrying Ruston) had been flying low and went in to the ground,” he said. “They were going up and down around the area ... and crashed just off the end of the runway.”

The mountainous area is a popular spot for recreational flights, Lovell said, and the small town of Alpine has many part-time residents living in cabins along the runway. While crashes are not common, he said, another pilot was killed in an October crash in the same area.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating Monday’s crash, Lovell said.

Ruston was a senior at East Chapel High School and a member of the Bouncing Bulldogs jump-rope team for 13 years, beginning when she was 4 years old.

East Chapel Hill Principal Eileen Tully told students and parents in a recorded statement Tuesday that “this is the worst kind of phone call a principal will ever make.”

“Yesterday, we lost a beloved member of our school family,” Tulley said.

“Our condolences certainly go out to Mackenzie’s family, friends and her loved ones,” she continued. “Counseling support has been added to our school today from the district to assist students and staff with grieving. If you would like any sort of advice or assistance on how to best engage your child in this difficult conversation, please don’t hesitate to call on us.”

Coach Ray Frederick, who founded the competitive jump rope team in 1985, said Ruston was one of two members he has coached from age 4 through their senior year of high school.

“I felt deep down in my heart this young lady is going to have a major impact on the world,” he said.

Ruston, one of the two co-captains of the 140-member team this year, was part of a four-person group that finished first in the World Jump Rope Competition single rope speed relay event last year in Paris. She was known for a front tuck with a rope in which she would do a front flip with the rope passing beneath her feet before she landed.

Ruston posted a video montage about jumping rope to YouTube in October, saying “what we do cannot always be explained with words.”

“I’ve traveled around the world, making new friends everywhere I go,” she said in the video. “I’ve learned discipline, hard work, communication, leadership, community service, respect creativity and teamwork. Each day I work to be a mentor and a positive influence for the next generation of jumpers.”

Ruston was humble and “would always give the credit to some one else,” Frederick added. “She was always the last to leave the gym. She expected the most out of herself. She was one of he few jumpers who could challenge me.”

At 6 a.m. Tuesday, when many of the Bouncing Bulldogs jumpers gathered for practice at Timberlyne shopping center in Chapel Hill, Frederick said co-captain Isabel Osborne took a headcount.

“When Isabel counted 72, I said, ‘Add one more,’” he said. “That’s the impact she had. Her spirit was in that room.”

Story, photos and video: http://www.newsobserver.com



BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho (WTVD) -- School officials said Mackenzie Ruston, a senior at East Chapel Hill High School, died in a plane crash Monday in Wyoming.

KIDK reports that 61-year-old Reade Genzlinger of Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania and Ruston, 17, were both killed after their plane crashed about 2 miles north of the runway at the Alpine Wyoming airport.

The two were in a   Yakovlev (Aerostar) Yak-52 aircraft on a recreational flight, KIDK reports. The cause of the crash is unknown.

School officials say no else from Ruston's family was involved in the accident.

Tom Forcella, Superintendent of Chapel Hill - Carrboro City Schools expressed his condolences.

"Today we grieve as a community. This is the hardest day any of us will ever face," said Forcella. "We will rely on the comfort of one another, and we will do everything in our power to support Mackenzie's family, friends and loved ones."

East Chapel Hill High School principal Eileen Tully said counseling would be available for students.

"Our condolences certainly go out to Mackenzie's family, friends and her loved ones. Counseling support has been added to our school today from the district to assist students and staff with grieving," said Tully. "If you would like any sort of advice or assistance on how to best engage your child in this difficult conversation, please don't hesitate to call on us. This is a very difficult time for everyone, and your continued support is greatly appreciated."

Source:  http://abc11.com 




BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho -

Bonneville County Sheriff's Office has released the names of the two people killed in plane crash near Palisades Reservoir Monday evening.

The victims of the crash were 61 year old Reade Genzlinger of Bryn Athens, Pennsylvania and 17 year old Mackenzie Ruston from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The name of the teen was confirmed by administrators at the East Chapel Hill High School where Ruston was a student. Both victims are part-time residents of Alpine, Wyoming.

The two victims were flying in a vintage Yak 52 Russian trainer aircraft. They were on recreational flight that left from the Alpine area and were flying with two other planes at the time.

The cause of the crash is still unknown at this time. The FAA has been contacted for help in investigating the crash. 

The crash scene was located approximately two miles north of the runway at the Alpine Wyoming airport in Palisades Reservoir. The plane did not crash in the water, but the area was covered with 2 to 3 feet of snow. Rescue crews used snowmobiles and rescue sleds to recover the victims.

Cessna 175, N9493B: Accident occurred January 04, 2016 at Seeley Lake Airport (23S), Missoula County, Montana

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA097
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 04, 2016 in Seeley Lake, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/05/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 175, registration: N9493B
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.

The pilot reported that during the approach he was informed by a person on the ground, who was not associated with airport operations, that there was about 3 inches of compacted snow on the runway. Before attempting to land, he completed a low pass over the runway to observe the runway conditions, but reported that it was dusk and he was observing flat light conditions.

The pilot reported that the touchdown was normal, but about 50 to 75 feet into the landing roll the airplane pulled to the left. He attempted to correct with right rudder, but was unable to stop the airplane from ground looping to the left into a snow berm. After the accident, the pilot observed that he "landed left of center" and the left main landing gear caught a one foot snow berm. The right wing and right elevator were substantially damaged. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Facility Directory, the destination had "intermittent" snow removal and the airport manager could be called for current conditions. The runway used was not equipped with runway lights. 

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

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot' failure to identify the plowed runway width in dusk and flat light conditions, which resulted in a touchdown left of the runway center, an impact with a snow berm, and a ground loop.

http://registry.faa.gov/N9493B

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Helena FSDO-05

The pilot and sole occupant of a single-engine aircraft was not injured after his plane crashed at the Seeley Lake Airport Monday.

Brenda Bassett, spokeswoman for the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, said the plane crashed while landing at Seeley Lake's airport about 5:18 p.m.

The pilot, who was flying in from Alaska and was the only person in the plane, was not injured, and Bassett said there was no fire hazard from the crash.

The cause of the plane crash remains under investigation.

Source:  http://missoulian.com

SEELEY LAKE, Mont. -

A small, single-occupant plane crash was reported around 5 p.m. Monday at the Seeley Lake airstrip.

The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office says one of the plane's wheels struck a snow berm on landing, causing a wing to clip the runway,

Seeley Lake Fire was the first on scene.  No one was injured in the accident, and there were no fire hazards.

Officials say the pilot was flying in from Alaska.  The crash is currently under investigation.

Source:  http://www.nbcmontana.com

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N5104D: Fatal accident occurred January 03, 2016 in Wayne, Nebraska

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

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

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

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA073
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 03, 2016 in Wayne, NE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/24/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N5104D
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The noninstrument-rated pilot planned to conduct a cross-country flight. Before departure on the second leg of the flight, the pilot obtained a weather briefing, which noted areas of instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions along his route of flight, including his destination airport. During the briefing, the pilot indicated that his vehicle and work was at his destination. The briefer and pilot discussed flying visual flight rules (VFR) over the cloud layer and possible alternate destination airports. The briefer suggested maintaining VFR flight and making an intermediary stop to again check the weather. The pilot elected to fly direct to his destination. During the flight, the pilot flew above the cloud layer and received VFR flight-following from ATC. The controller advised him that his preferred destination airport was currently under IFR conditions, but another airport was reporting VFR. The pilot elected to continue to the alternate destination airport. The pilot notified the controller he did not have visual contact with the ground and continued his descent. Shortly thereafter, the controller lost radar and radio communication with the pilot. About the time of the accident, a person in the area reported the weather conditions as, “clouds on the ground,” with low ceilings, and freezing fog and added that the visibility had changed from about 6 miles to less than ¼ mile in seconds. The airplane wreckage was located about 8 miles from the airport. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operations. A review of the pilot’s logbook revealed he had a total of about 111 flight hours. The accident is consistent with controlled flight into terrain in instrument meteorological conditions as the pilot continued the descent without the ground in sight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The noninstrument-rated pilot's improper decision to continue visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in a collision with terrain.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 3, 2016, about 1840 central standard time, a Cessna 172N airplane, N5104D, impacted terrain near Wayne, Nebraska. The airplane sustained substantial damage and the private rated pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the destination airport and the airplane was not on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Columbia Regional Airport (KCOU), Columbia, Missouri about 1540 and was en route to Sioux Gateway Airport/Col. Bud Day Field (SUX), Sioux City, Iowa.

The pilot had flown from the McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport (KMKL) Jackson, Tennessee, to KCOU. According to KCOU personnel, the pilot requested the airplane be "topped off" and the airplane was fueled with about 26 gallons of fuel. While there, the pilot contacted Flight Service Station (FSS) via telephone, for a weather briefing. The pilot stated that he wanted to conduct a visual flight rules (VFR) flight from KCOU to KSUX. He indicated that his vehicle and work was there in Sioux City. During the conversation with the briefer, the pilot was informed that the weather at KSUX was instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions and was expected to remain that way. The conversation continued with alternatives, such as flying VFR over the cloud layer, and then descending into the Wayne Municipal Airport (LCG) Wayne, Nebraska, and renting an automobile. The cloud tops en route were reported as 2,500 to 4,500 ft. above ground level (agl). The briefing also noted general areas where weather conditions were IFR and VFR.

As the pilot neared Sioux City, the air traffic controller reported IFR conditions at the Sioux City airport. The reported weather conditions at KLCG were 10 miles visibility with scattered clouds at 200 ft. agl, so the pilot decided to land at KLCG. Shortly after the pilot started his descent to KLCG, radar and radio communications were lost with the pilot.

A search located the airplane wreckage in a field, about eight miles east of KLCG. 

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with rating for airplane single-engine land; there was no record of him holding an instrument rating. The pilot was issued a third class medical certificate and student pilot certificate on August 13, 2014.

A review of the pilot's logbook revealed the last entry was dated November 11, 2015, and he had accumulated 111.7 total flight hours, with 109.2 in the accident airplane.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Cessna 172 is a high-wing, single-engine airplane, with fixed landing gear, powered by a reciprocating Lycoming four-cylinder O-320 engine and a fixed pitch propeller. A review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed the last annual inspection was completed on January 1,2015, with an airplane total time of 11,925.8 hours, an engine total time of 7,868.2 hours, and 1,487.7 hours since overhaul. The panel Hobbs meter read 1,251.3 hours. A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA records revealed the pilot purchased the airplane on August 25, 2014; however, he had not updated the airplane's registration. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1815, the automated weather observing system (AWOS) located at KLCG, about 7 miles northwest of the accident site recorded; wind calm, 10 miles visibility, a clear sky below 12,000 ft., temperature 9 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 7 degrees F, and a barometric pressure of 30.42 inches of mercury.

At 1855 the station recorded wind from 010 degrees at 4 knots, 10 miles visibility an overcast sky at 200 ft, the temperature10 degrees (F), and the dew point 9 degrees F.

No Significant Meteorological Information (SIGMET or Center Weather Advisories (CWA) were valid for the accident site at the accident time. 

Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET Sierra issued at 1445 was valid at the accident time. The AIRMET Sierra forecasted IFR conditions with a ceiling below 1,000 ft. agl and visibility below 3 miles in mist. Conditions were forecast to continue through 2100 to 0300 the following day.

A pilot rated witness to the weather conditions about the time of the accident was located about one half mile west of the accident location. He stated that the temperature was 15 degrees F and the fog was freezing. The clouds appeared to be of the cumulus variation and were on the ground as he drove through them. The visibility quickly reduced from more than 6 statute miles to less than ¼ statute miles. 

The pilot received a weather briefing from FSS. The briefing advised the pilot of IFR conditions, near his destination airport, along with forecast for IFR conditions. The opportunity to fly VFR over the cloud layer was discussed, along with monitoring weather en route. 

A Weather Study Report was prepared for this investigation; the Group Chairman's factual report is located in the docket for this accident.

COMMUNICATIONS

A review of air traffic control communications with the pilot revealed that shortly after departing KCOU, the pilot requested and received VFR flight following. As the flight neared his destination the pilot was in contact with the Sioux City approach controller. The conversation, over several minutes, between the controller and pilot:

Controller: How are your flight conditions?

Pilot: Flight conditions are clear above the clouds, I have, probably have easily 15 to10 miles visibility above the clouds

Controller: Roger, let me know when you get ground contact

Pilot: Will do

Pilot: What are the actual ceilings of this cloud coverage?

Controller: We're showing both at Wayne and Norfolk that they are VFR with extended clear, and Sioux City IFR, right now 700 ft. overcast.

Pilot: Thank you

Pilot: I have good line of sight on appears to be West Point

Controller: Roger, just let me know when you get ground contact

Pilot: Will do, sir

Controller: I'm showing you losing altitude; do you see the ground yet?

Pilot: Descending towards the south. Not yet, I'm sure getting fairly close 

There was a conversation between the pilot and controller, about runways at the Wayne airport.

Pilot: ok, sounds good, I'll do the 36, and can't see the ground yet, but will let you know, just as soon as I do

Controller: Roger

Pilot: "At 2,000 ft. and have not identified the ground yet"

Controller: Roger, We're now showing a scattered layer at Wayne, at 200 ft.

Pilot: You're not saying the ceiling is at 200 ft. are you?

Controller: No, it's a scattered layer at 200, that was as of 10 minutes ago.

Pilot: Okay

Controller: I'm starting to lose you on radar, what's your current altitude?

Pilot: current altitude is 1,800; no ground in sight

Controller: Roger, maintain VFR

Controller: Radar contact lost

Pilot: Roger, on radar contact lost

About a half a minute later, the controller asked if the pilot was still on frequency. The pilot did not respond to the controller, and there were no additional communications with the pilot.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The Wayne Municipal Airport / Stan Morris Field (KLCG), is a public-use, non-towered airport, located 2 miles east of Wayne, Nebraska. Pilots are to use the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) for communications. The airport featured a concrete runway 5/23, 3,406 ft. by 60 ft. asphalt runway 18/36, 4,201 ft. by 75 ft., and a turf runway. The airport is at an elevation of 1431.7 ft. and has an AWOS located on the field. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The on-site examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane's right wing impacted an open area of a snow covered, harvested, corn field. From the initial impact point, the wreckage path consisted of a large crater, then several small fragments of airplane. The wreckage path then continued to the main fuselage. The wreckage came to rest inverted, facing the direction of the wreckage path. Both wings had heavy leading edge damage; the main cabin was severely crushed; the empennage sustained minimal damage, and was nearly severed just aft of the baggage area. The engine and front cowling also had heavy impact damage; the two-bladed propeller remained attached to the engine. There was not a post-crash fire.

Aileron continuity was established at each of the wing bellcranks; however, the cables were bound by the amount of damage to the airframe. Control continuity for the elevators and rudders was established to their respective control surfaces. The flap actuator was measured at 1.25 inches extended, which corresponded to a flaps retracted position. The carburetor was broken from its mount, but remained attached by the controls. Residual fuel was found in the carburetor and gascolator; the fuel appeared clear of any contaminants. The gasolator screen was also clear of debris and contaminants.

The instrument panel had heavy impact damage. The attitude indicator was partially crushed; the unit was disassembled and scoring was noted on the gyro and its housing.

The Hobbs meter on scene read 1,311.5 hours.

The airplane was recovered to a salvage yard; an examination of the engine conducted by the NTSB, along with technical representatives from the engine and airframe manufacturers.

The engine, firewall, and part of the instrument panel had been separated from the airframe for recovery. The firewall, panel, and baffling were removed to facilitate the examination. The engine was rotated by hand; continuity was established to the accessory section of the engine and through the crankshaft and valve train. Pieces of the duel magneto were recovered; however, impact damage prevented a complete examination. 

The top spark plugs exhibited light colored combustion deposits and the electrodes exhibited worn out – normal signatures, in accordance with the Champion aviation check-a-plug chart. The oil pump screen was clear. The carburetor, which had separated from the engine during the accident was disassembled. The carburetor's floats had signatures, consistent with hydraulic compression. The fuel filter screen was absent debris and contamination. 

No pre-impact abnormalities were noted during the airframe or engine examinations.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Pathology Medical Services of Siouxland, PC, Sioux City, Iowa conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was determined to be, "multiple acute blunt force traumatic injuries".

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on the pilot. The specimens were not tested for cyanide. The test was negative for carbon monoxide and tested drugs. 

KENNETH L. LYONS:   http://registry.faa.govN5104D

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA073 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 03, 2016 in Wayne, NE
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N5104D
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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 3, 2016, about 1840 central standard time, a Cessna 172N airplane, N5104D, impacted terrain near Wayne, Nebraska. The airplane sustained substantial damage and the private rated pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the destination airport and the airplane was not on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Columbia Regional airport (KCOU), Columbia, Missouri about 1540 and was en route to Sioux City, Iowa. 

A preliminary review of air traffic control communications with the pilot, revealed that shortly after departing KCOU the pilot requested and received visual flight rules (VFR) flight following. As he neared his destination, the controller reported instrument weather conditions at the airport, however the pilot reported that he was VFR on top. The reported weather conditions at the Wayne Municipal Airport (KLCG), Wayne, Nebraska, were 10 miles visibility with scattered clouds at 200 feet above ground level, so the pilot decided to land at KLCG. Shortly after the pilot started his visual approach to KLCG, radar and radio communications were lost with the pilot. 

When family members reported the airplane overdue, an ALNOT (Alert Notice) was issued. A search located the airplane wreckage in a field, about eight miles east of the Wayne Municipal airport. 

The on-site examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane's right wing impacted an open area of a snow covered, harvested, corn field. From the initial impact point, the wreckage path consisted of a large crater, then several small fragments of airplane. The wreckage path then continued to the main fuselage. The wreckage came to rest inverted, facing the direction of the wreckage path. Both wings had heavy leading edge damage; the main cabin was severely crushed; the empennage had only light damage, and was nearly severed just aft of the baggage area. The engine and front cowling also had heavy impact damage; the two bladed propeller remained attached to the engine. 

After the initial on-site documentation of the wreckage, the airplane was recovered for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Lincoln FSDO-65


 James Christopher Birk





We're finding out more about the pilot whose plane crashed in rural Nebraska over the weekend.

According to an area pilot and a co-worker of the man, the pilot was 31-years-old James Christopher Birk, better known as Chris by friends. He was flying the Cessna 172 when it crashed Sunday evening.

Birk was employed by Performance Contractors of Louisiana, which is the company doing construction on the CF Industries expansion.

According to his obituary, Birk was born in Lecedale, Mississippi, and most recently moved to Sioux City for work. He will be laid to rest on Jan. 9th in Savannah, Tennessee. Click here to read the entire obituary.

Birk was suppose to land in Sioux City, but was diverted to the Wayne airport because of foggy conditions.

Here is part of the exchange between Birk and air traffic controllers.

Chris Birk, pilot: "Sioux City approach this is Cessna n5104 delta; you read me?"

Chris Birk was nearly at Sioux Gateway airport when he was denied permission to land because of low visibility. He was redirected to the airport in Wayne, Nebraska.

Air Traffic Controller: "Cessna 04 delta - yeah, keep me advised on how the weather is on your way over there. We're showing VFR skies over Wayne, but we are socked in here in Sioux City and it might be spreading over that way. Keep us advised and we'll get you down safe."

Conditions worsened, apparently, impacting visibility.

Chris Birk, pilot: "5104 delta. Have not identified the ground yet."

Controller: "04 delta, roger, and we are now showing a scattered layer at Wayne at 200 feet."

It was around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday night when air traffic control last had contact with Chris.

Air Traffic Controller: "04 delta I'm starting to lose you on radar. What's your current altitude?"

Chris Birk, pilot:"Altitude is 1,800. No ground."

Air Traffic Controller: "04 delta, radar contact lost."

Air Traffic Controller: "04 delta still up?"

Chris Birk, pilot: "04 delta approach (cuts off)"

NTSB has finished the investigation on scene and have taken the debris to Colorado for further research.

They hope to have a cause of the crash determined by next week.

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


PENDER, NE (KTIV) -

Update:

The investigation continues into the death of a pilot whose plane crashed near Pender, Nebraska.

The plane was a single engine Cessna.

The small plane took off from Columbia, Missouri and was headed to Sioux City.

But airport officials diverted the flight because of bad weather.

"I got a call to be looking for a plane landing here at the Wayne Airport and this was approximately seven p.m. last night," said Wayne Hoffman of the Wayne Municipal Airport. "And we did a search here at the airport runways and everything. We did not find the plane and it did not show up here."

Crews searched the area between Pender and Concord for the missing plane overnight.

The wreckage was found around 1:30 Monday morning according to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The name of the pilot has not been released at this time.

Kenny Thomsen, the owner of the farm says he didn't find out about the crash until hours after it happened.

"You never know when it's at and this morning, vehicles kept going by the house and highway patrolmen went by," said Kenny Thomsen, the owner of the farm where the plane crashed. "And I seen- and I knew it had to be close and then when the fog lifted, I could see it."

Monday, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and Federal Aviation Administration officials were on scene to investigate.

Nebraska State Troopers were also there to safeguard the area.

Thomsen says he spoke with an FAA official Monday.

"He said that as soon as talked to a mechanic in Wayne, they'd come out with a flat bed and asked if I could help lift it up on there," said Thomsen.

An FAA spokesperson says the National Transportation Safety Board will be leading the investigation.

She said it could take between a year and 14 months to complete.

The spokesperson says there are lots of different agencies involved, and sometimes parts of the aircraft are sent to the manufacturer.

Previous Story:

The FAA has been called in to investigate a crash of a small plane near Pender, Nebraska. It happened on Sunday night and authorities said the crash claimed the life of the pilot.

The plane disappeared after being diverted from landing at Sioux Gateway Airport because of bad weather.

It was a single-engine Cessna that had left Columbia, Missouri and was bound for Sioux City.

Authorities said it was cloudy and foggy at the time of the crash.

It was reported missing from radar at 7:18 by officials at Sioux Gateway.

The plane should have arrived in Wayne about seven Sunday night.

Crews searched the area between Pender and Concord for the missing plane overnight.

"We did a search here at the airport runways and everything but we did not find a plane. It did not show up here. The police department came out and said there was a missing plane. So from there on it was search and rescue. I guess about two o'clock this morning we got news that they did find the plane," Jim Hoffman, with the Wayne Municipal Airport said.

The wreckage was found about 1:30 Monday morning outside Pender.

Authorities said the pilot was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The name of the pilot has not been released at this time.

The Wayne County Sheriff brought FAA officials to the plane crash site to investigate on Monday according to Nebraska State Troopers.

The pilot of a small plane is dead after the plane crashed in northeast Nebraska Sunday night.

Previous story:

According to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, the wreckage of the single-engine Cessna 172 was found about 1:30 Monday morning in rural Wayne County. The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene. Their name has not yet been released.

The plane, which took off from Columbia, Missouri, was scheduled to arrive in Wayne at 7 o'clock, but went off the radar.

Authorities say the Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City notified Wayne officials about the missing plane at 7:18 Sunday night. Sioux Gateway authorities diverted the flight from SUX to the Wayne Municipal Airport due to bad weather. Dense fog and thick clouds in the area at the time created low visibilities.

Crews searched the area between Pender and Concord for the missing plane overnight.

Tom Becker manages the Wayne County facility, and he says Columbia, Missouri was the last known stop for the aircraft.

Federal authorities are investigating the crash.

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

Nebraska State Troopers are keeping the area around the crash secure. They say the NTSB is expected to come out here.