Thursday, January 7, 2016

West Atlantic Sweden Canadair CRJ-200, SE-DUX: Fatal accident occurred January 07, 2016 near Akkajaure, Sweden

NTSB Identification: DCA16WA045
Accident occurred Friday, January 08, 2016 in Kiruna, Sweden
Aircraft: BOMBARDIER CL600 2B19, registration:
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

The government of Sweden has notified the NTSB of an accident involving a BOMBARDIER CL600-2B19 that occurred on January 08, 2016. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the government of Sweden's investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the State of Manufacturer and Design of the engines.

All investigative information will be released by the government of Sweden.




Emergency services have said it is unlikely they will find survivors or a crash in Swedish Lapland, which happened as two pilots were transporting mail in northern Norway.

The plane was on its way from Norwegian airport Gardermoen to Tromsø when it sent out a distress signal in Swedish airspace at 11.31pm on Thursday night.

West Atlantic -- the plane's operator -- did not immediately identify the crew but said that the captain was aged 42 and from Spain, and the first officer was aged 34 and from France. Between them they had logged more than 6,000 flight hours.

On Friday morning the CEO of the company told a press conference in Gothenburg he had "great sorrow" that the accident had taken place.

"What should not happen and may not happen has happened," Gustaf Thureborn said to reporters.

Police and mountain rescue teams arrived at the site at around 1pm on Friday, after being delayed by treacherous conditions.

However Swedish emergency services reported later on Friday afternoon that it was likely the pilots had died in the crash and said that staff were no longer looking for survivors.

The cause of the crash remains a mystery, officials said.

A Norwegian F16 plane first located the wreckage on the ground between the north-western edge of Swedish lake Akkajaure and the Norwegian border, in an area often known as the Swedish alps.

Thureborn told reporters he was woken up by a phone call two minutes after the airline was alerted about the crash and was at the office 15 minutes later.

The aircraft, a Bombardier CRJ-200, is registered in Sweden, but travels between Norwegian destinations. It was manufactured in 1993.

Thureborn told reporters that all of the company's planes of the same model had been grounded as a precaution.

"In light of the ongoing investigation we can't give you more information about what has happened, but we'll have to await its results. We're happy to offer more information as soon as we have it," he added.

Source:  http://www.thelocal.no









Two pilots from France and Spain were on board a mail plane that crashed on its way from Sweden to Norway, the aircraft's operator has confirmed.

West Atlantic's CEO's Gustaf Thureborn told a press conference in Gothenburg "with great sorrow" that the accident had taken place on Thursday night.

"What should not happen and may not happen has happened," he told reporters.

Two people were on board the aircraft, which was carrying mail for the Norwegian postal service. It was on its way from Norwegian Gardermoen to Tromsø when it sent out a distress signal in Swedish airspace at 11.31pm, Thureborn said.

West Atlantic did not immediately identify the crew but said that the captain was aged 42 and from Spain, and the first officer was aged 34 and from France. Between them they had logged more than 6,000 flight hours.

The company said it had not yet been established whether or not the staff had died in the crash.

A Norwegian F16 plane located the wreckage on the ground between the north-western edge of Swedish lake Akkajaure and the Norwegian border, in an area often known as the Swedish alps.

Thureborn told reporters he had been woken up by a phone call two minutes after the airline was alerted about the crash and was at the office 15 minutes later.

Police and mountain rescue teams were still on their way to the scene amid sub-freezing temperarures at 11am.

“The terrain is mountainous and it's -30C, so it's going to take a while before we get there,” police spokesperson Maria Jakobsson told the TT newswire earlier in the morning.

“They sent a very brief 'mayday' and then the plane disappeared from our radar. (…) The weather conditions weren't harsh,” Daniel Lindblad, Swedish Maritime Administration press officer, also told TT.

“The crash site is very clear. Its total diameter is about 50 metres and there are no large parts but only small fragments left of the aircraft,” he added.

The plane, Canadair CRJ-200, is registered in Sweden, but travels between Norwegian destinations. It was manufactured in 1993.

Thureborn told reporters that all of the company's planes of the same model had been grounded as a precaution.

"In light of the ongoing investigation we can't give you more information about what has happened, but we'll have to await its results. We're happy to offer more information as soon as we have it," he added.

Source: http://www.thelocal.se



West Atlantic's CEO's Gustaf Thureborn holding a press conference on Friday morning.


Following the accident involving the aircraft SE-DUX West Atlantic Sweden AB will hold a press conference at 11:00 at Best Western Tidbloms Hotel with address Olskroksgatan 23, SE 416-66 Gothenburg.

The aircraft departed Oslo on route to Tromsö and declared mayday at 23:31 whereby the Swedish and Norwegian search and rescue teams were notified. The crash site was located at 03:10 near the Norwegian border by the lake Akkajaure in the Swedish Lapplandsfjällen by air rescue services with support from Hovedredningssentralen in Norway.  

The search has been taken over by the Swedish police which are on their way to the accident site. The internal process is coordinated by the Company's Emergency Response Team.

Route
Flight no: SWN 294
Route: Oslo - Tromsö
Crew members on board: 2
Type of freight: General freight / Post

Aircraft
Registration: SE-DUX
Aircraft Type: Bombardier CRJ200 PF
Year of manufacture: 1993
Manufacturer's serial number: 7010
Hours flown since manufactured: 38 601:49
Total flight cycles since manufactured: 31 036

West Atlantic Sweden AB has operated the aircraft since 2007 and flown approximately 10 000 hours.

Crew
Age: Captain 42, First Officer 34  
Employed with the company: 2011 and 2008
Flight hours: Captain 2 050 hours on type, total hours 3 173
First officer: 900 hours on type, total hours 3 050

For further information, please contact: 
Gustaf Thureborn, CEO & President                             
Telephone: +46 (0) 10 452 95 07 
Email: Gustaf.Thureborn@westatlantic.eu

About West Atlantic
The West Atlantic Group is one of the market leading providers of dedicated air freight services to European NMOs and air freight capacity to Global Integrators and Freight Forwarders. The Group has a well-established geographic network, based around six logistic hubs, and currently operates 51 scheduled destinations. The aircraft portfolio includes 46 customised aircraft in service, whereof a majority is wholly owned. West Atlantic was founded in 1962 and is headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. Operations are performed all over Europe and per December 31 2014 West Atlantic had 488 employees. For 2014 West Atlantic reported revenues of MSEK 1,244 and adjusted EBITDA of MSEK 224.

West Atlantic AB (publ) Org. no: 556503-6083, Box 5433, SE-402 29 Gothenburg, Sweden

Investor Relations: investor.relations@westatlantic.eu
Webpage: www.westatlantic.eu

West Atlantic discloses the information in this release pursuant to the Swedish Securities Market Act and/or the Swedish Financial Instrument Trading Act.  

Source:  http://globenewswire.com



Only small fragments remained of a cargo jet that crashed during the night while transporting mail for the Norwegian postal service Posten. Postal officials were expressing shock and sorrow Friday morning after news came that the crash killed the jet’s two cockpit crew members on board, and all its mail was lost.

“We are all very upset by this tragedy,” John Eckhoff, spokesman for Posten Norge, told state broadcaster NRK. Postal officials kept contact through the night with both the cargo jet’s operator, West Atlantic Sweden of Gothenburg, and rescue crews in both Norway and Sweden.

‘Powerful crash’

The latter could confirm Friday morning that remote crash site had been found shortly after 3am and there was no chance either the pilot or co-pilot could have survived. Only small fragments of the aircraft could be seen in the Swedish mountains of Gällivare.

“It was a powerful crash, right into the ground,” Daniel Lindblad, spokesman for the Swedish rescue service, told news bureau NTB. The pilot, age 42, was from Spain and the co-pilot, age 34, was from France.

“This is a serious and tragic accident,” Posten’s chief executive Dag Mejdell said at a press conference Friday morning. “We have the deepest sympathy for the families of those involved.” He said Posten had set up a crisis team and was working closely with officials at West Atlantic.

They were flying first-class mail (A-post), small packages and express mail from all over southeastern Norway to Northern Norway, on a route from Oslo to Tromsø. Posten Norge suspended another cargo flight that was scheduled to carry mail to Svalbard on Friday. “Its pilots were colleagues of the two who were on board the flight that crashed,” Eckhoff told NRK.

‘Mayday’ around midnight

The Swedish-registered SE-DUX aircraft, flight SWN 294, was a Canadair Bombardier CRJ-200 and it sent out a Mayday signal around midnight. The last radar images of the flight appeared when it was 120 kilometers northeast of Bodø but inside Swedish territory.

Two Norwegian F16 fighter jets were dispatched from the military air station in Bodø and they found the crash site, after which Swedish authorities took over the rescue operation. They determined that neither of the two on board could have survived, but they were attempting to send crews into the remote area located between Lake Akkajaure in Sweden and the Norwegian border.

There are no roads in the wilderness area, making the recovery operation difficult. “We’re working with getting crews into the area,” Maria Jakobssen of the Swedish police told Sveriges Radio. “There are no roads and it’s around 30-degrees below zero, so it’s problematic.”

The cause of the crash could not immediately be determined. The weather was cold but clear, with little wind, reported NRK. Flightradar 24 reported that the aircraft fell quickly, from an altitude of 33,000 feet to 11,725 feet in just 60 seconds. West Atlantic Sweden AB, which planned a midday press conference, is billed as one of the leading providers of air freight services and reported that the aircraft had been part of West Atlantic Sweden’s fleet since 2007.

Source:  http://www.newsinenglish.no

Two pilots from France and Spain were on board a mail plane that crashed on its way from Sweden to Norway, the aircraft operator has confirmed.

West Atlantic's CEO's Gustaf Thureborn told a press conference in Gothenburg "with great sorrow" that the accident had taken place on Thursday night.

"What should not happen and may not happen has happened," he told reporters.

Two people were on board the aircraft, which was carrying mail for the Norwegian postal service. It was on its way from Norwegian Gardemoen to Tromsø when it sent out a distress signal in Swedish airspace at 11.31pm, Thurebor said.

West Atlantic did not immediately identify the crew but said that the captain was aged 42 and from Spain, and the first officer was aged 34 and from France. Between them they had logged more than 6,000 flight hours.

The company said it had not yet been established whether or not the staff had died in the crash.

A Norwegian F16 plane located the wreckage on the ground between the north-western edge of Swedish lake Akkajaure and the Norwegian border, in an area often known as the Swedish alps.

Thureborn told reporters he had been woken up by a phone call two minutes after the airline was alerted about the crash and was at the office 15 minutes later.

Police and mountain rescue teams were still on their way to the scene amid sub-freezing temperarures at 11am.

“The terrain is mountainous and it's -30C, so it's going to take a while before we get there,” police spokesperson Maria Jakobsson told the TT newswire earlier in the morning.

“They sent a very brief 'mayday' and then the plane disappeared from our radar. (…) The weather conditions weren't harsh,” Daniel Lindblad, Swedish Maritime Administration press officer, also told TT.

“The crash site is very clear. Its total diameter is about 50 metres and there are no large parts but only small fragments left of the aircraft,” he added.

The plane, Canadair CL-600-2B19 Regional Jet CRJ-200PF, is registered in Sweden, but travels between Norwegian destinations. It was manufactured in 1993.

"In light of the ongoing investigation we can't give you more information about what has happened, but we'll have to await its results. We're happy to offer more information as soon as we have it," Thureborn told the press conference.

Source:  http://www.thelocal.no

Mangled remains of a plane have been found after it sent out a distress signal over the border between Norway and Sweden. 

The Canadair CRJ-200, which had taken off from Oslo just an hour earlier, went down in a remote, mountainous area between the Nordic countries in the middle of the night.

Rescuers were still trying to access to crash site Friday morning after which had been seen by passing. 

Everyone on board the Canadair CRJ-200 is feared dead.

The flight, a cargo plane carrying post, was traveling to the northern city of Trosmo.

It was operated by Swedish firm West Atlantic.

Two people - the 42-year-old captain and a 34-year-old first officer - were on board at the time.

The airline says both crew members were experienced pilots, with more than 3,000 hours experience in the Canadair CRJ-200 between them.

According to tracking service FlightRadar24, the plane's last signal showed it at 33,000ft just after midnight local time.

The Canadair CRJ 200 had caused alarm after not making contact since it sent out the distress signal between Norway’s Lake Akkajaure and the Swedish Lapland Mountains.

The wreckage was first spotted by a Norwegian F-16 reconnaissance jet at around 3am.

Two Europeans are believed to have been on board the Swedish registered postal flight, which was traveling to Tromso, Norway.

Early reports in Sweden suggested the flight had taken off from Heathrow, but these were corrected by the airline.

Story, comments and photos: http://www.express.co.uk

To norske F-16 fra Bodø var de første til å lokalisere postflyet som styrtet i Nord-Sverige. Her er videoen.

– Filmen viser havaristedet og de første helikopterne på vei inn. Som filmen viser var det allerede for sent da helikopterne kom, forteller Kaptein Brynjar Stordal ved Forsvarets operative hovedkvarter (FOH).

Bildene viser krateret der flyet styrtet. Jagerflyene har avanserte systemer for å finne mål på bakken, og dette systemet kan også brukes til å lete etter savnede fly.

– Målangivelsesutstyret på F-16 har opptikk som gjør det i stand til å fungere godt i denne type søk, fortsetter Stordal.

http://www.nrk.no

First responders learn trauma skills, target shoot by helicopter



BRAZOS COUNTY - First responders from the Brazos Valley gathered at a local ranch Thursday for medical training and also some shooting practice including from a helicopter.

News 3 spent the day with the members of law enforcement and first responders and also takes a look at how the day of fun also taught some new skills.

A not so typical day for about 35 local police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

Skeet shooting an machine guns came at the end of the day.

But learning techniques on responding to serious trauma came first, something Brazos County Constable Jeff Reeves has seen before.

"We've been through it at Precinct 1 when we had Brian Bachmann shot and killed and you know at the same time if it's a severe injury or something like that it's a wonderful thing what these doctors are teaching us," Reeves said.

Dr. Andy Wilson with Caprock Emergency helped sponsor the day of teaching.

"Looking at trauma from a new lens of what may look like minor trauma that ends up being actually a major trauma situation and what to do when an active shooter or a mass casualty situation," Dr. Wilson said.

Once the lectures wrapped up, the incentive for many to sign up. Helibacon hog hunting company offered flights at Tonkaway Ranch near College Station and a target shooting competition.

"It's wonderful stuff. Good training," Reeves said.

State Rep. Kyle Kacal hosted it all at his ranch.

"I want these folks to have the best tools and education they can and this is an opportunity for them to get educated, learn and have a little fun which they deserve," said Kacal, (R) District 12.

While it looks like a lot of fun and games it's also important for law enforcement as they stay proficient with firearms.

"We've shot a lot of automatic weapons, different kinds of weaponry but there are some officers out here today that probably haven't shot a lot of this stuff and need to have some exposure and once again," Reeves said.

Caprock Emergency is hoping to offer the program in the future and more lectures for first responders.

Story and video:  http://www.kbtx.com

Frontier adding service from St. Augustine to Chicago, Philadelphia



Frontier Airlines announced Thursday that it will continue its service at St. Augustine's Northeast Florida Regional Airport with the addition of two nonstop routes to Philadelphia International Airport and Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

In a release from Frontier, the airline announced service to Chicago will begin on April 14, and service to Philadelphia will begin on April 15.

Flights between St. Augustine and Chicago will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays while flights to Philadelphia will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Fares in these new markets will be as low as $69 each way.

Frontier is putting its full summer schedule on sale Thursday for travel through Aug. 15. Including the St. Augustine service, Frontier Airlines has added 42 new routes throughout the United States.

"Travelers between big cities have enjoyed low fares while many markets have remained overpriced and underserved," said Frontier president Barry Biffle in a release. "Frontier's low fares in St. Augustine will benefit thousands of new fliers who are forced to drive because they haven't found affordable air travel options — or they simply stay at home. We see hundreds of additional opportunities like these throughout the country, fueling our growth for years to come."

Frontier started flying between St. Augustine and Trenton, New Jersey, in May 2014. That service is currently suspended.

Source: http://www.firstcoastnews.com

Pocatello Regional Airport (KPIH) Adds a Daily Flight

Pocatello Regional Airport is gearing up to add its third daily flight to the airport




KPVI News that Works for You spoke with travelers on Thursday to see if the increased option will entice them to fly out of the Gate City.

Barlee Flanders ended up at the Pocatello Regional Airport by chance Thursday.

“I am thrilled,” says Barlee Flanders.

“So often my choices are Boise, Twin Falls, or Idaho Falls.  I would love a flight into Pocatello because it’s easy for me to drive if I need to go to Hailey or to Jackson, you have choices.  I would come back in a heartbeat and drive,” says Flanders.

It’s flyers like Flanders that the Pocatello Regional Airport is hoping to attract when it adds a third daily flight March 2nd.

Susan Lozano was traveling back to California after visiting her mom.  She says the new flight will be a big help.

“Yes it would be really helpful when we were trying to book the flight.  We were pretty limited, so adding a third flight would really make it great for us,” says Susan Lozano.

The new flights will cover morning, afternoon, and late night travelers.

“There was a lot of long layovers and it just wasn’t working, so having three flights give us much better convenience for connections,” says David Allen, Pocatello Regional Airport Manager.

David Allen, the Pocatello Regional Airport Manager says adding this third daily flight will open up more connecting opportunities and be more convenient.

According to a study by airport officials, the new flight will add over 100 connecting flight opportunities, with layovers between 30 minutes and three hours.

Allen hopes the added convenience will spur more travelers to fly out of Pocatello, leading to more flights.

“We want to go ahead and continue building demand.  We can actually support even a fourth and a fifth flight, but we have to be able to build that up so what we are going to do is try and fill these seats up now,” says Allen.

Fill those seats with travelers like Alexander Williams, who was just getting ready to hop on a Salt Lake Express bus and head to Utah.

“I like flying better than sitting on a bus, so I mean it’s a lot easier,” says Alexander Williams.

The added flight will increase weekly flights and available seats by 46 percent.

Story and video: http://www.kpvi.com

EROS 1600, N508AH: Fatal accident occurred January 07, 2016 near Lebanon Municipal Airport (M54), Wilson County, Tennessee

Mark Leon Harrell 



The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee  

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N508AH



NTSB Identification: ERA16FA084
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 07, 2016 in Lebanon, TN
Aircraft: EROS 1600, registration: N508AH
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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 7, 2016, about 1540 central standard time, an experimental amateur-built Eros 1600 airplane, N508AH, collided with terrain following a total loss of engine power near Lebanon, Tennessee. The private pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which departed from Lebanon Municipal Airport (M54).

GPS data indicated that the airplane departed M54 at 1515 and conducted an approximate 20-minute local flight. The airplane then returned to the airport, landed, and initiated a second takeoff.
One witness, who was a pilot, stated the airplane conducted a normal takeoff, then began a right turn at low altitude. The airplane then "abruptly" turned left about 100 ft above ground level (agl) "as if it was trying to return to the airport." The airplane subsequently rotated "sharply" to the left and descended to ground contact as it disappeared from his view. Several witnesses reported hearing the airplane "circle" at low altitude, followed by a loss of engine power.

A friend of the pilot stated that the pilot had been performing maintenance on the engine because it was "intermittently missing." The pilot had installed a new ignition coil onto the engine, and on the day of the accident, the pilot reinstalled the engine onto the airplane. The accident flight was a test flight to determine if the engine problem had been resolved.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. In addition, the pilot held a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate that was issued on May 15, 2014. He was issued a third-class FAA medical certificate on August 24, 2006, with no limitations. The pilot's logbooks indicated that he had about 259 total hours of flight time, of which 8.9 hours were in the accident airplane. His most recent flight review was completed on May 27, 2014.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the experimental amateur-built airplane was owned by the pilot and issued an airworthiness certificate on May 15, 2014. It was equipped with a two-cylinder Rotax 532, 64-horsepower (hp) engine, which was installed on October 7, 2015. According to maintenance logbooks, the airplane had a total time of about 14 hours. The airplane's most recent condition inspection was completed by the pilot on October 7, 2015, at a total time of 1.6 hours. A white board in the pilot's hangar noted that he serviced the engine with a fuel/oil ratio of 40:1. According to the pilot's son, the engine was previously installed on a snowmobile.

According to the airplane operating handbook, the airplane was designed to be equipped with a 41-hp, Rotax 447 engine. With this engine installed, the airplane's flaps-up stall speed was 34 mph, and its flaps-extended stall speed was 29 mph. The emergency procedures section stated,

"About the only failure you can have in planes as simple as the MAX is an engine failure, and since you are flying an uncertified engine, that occurrence is not too unlikely. Unless the failure is a result of inadvertently switching off the magneto, a restart is unlikely, therefore, begin planning immediately for a forced landing.

Establish a glide at minimum airspeed at least 45 [calibrated airspeed]. If you are climbing, immediately lower the nose to the glide attitude. Pick a landing spot (you should already have one in mind). The MAX glides at about 6/1 angle, but any turbulence will strongly effect this. Also, keep in mind wind shear (gradient) as you approach the ground, and keep your airspeed up in a strong wind.

Perform a normal power off landing (you should have practiced this many times). Minimum airspeed as you begin your flare should be approximately 40 mph. Any lower airspeed and you may not have enough energy to arrest your sink rate."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1553 recorded weather observation at Smyrna Airport (MQY), Smyrna, Tennessee, located about 14 nautical miles southwest of the accident location, included wind from 120° at 4 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, broken cloud layers at 3,500 ft agl and 4,400 ft agl, temperature 13°C, dew point 8°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.02 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted terrain and came to rest inverted on a westerly heading, next to a residence located about 850 ft from the departure end of runway 04. All components of the airplane were located near the wreckage. Flight control continuity was established from the flight controls in the cockpit to all flight control surfaces.

The propeller was rotated by hand and engine continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the back of the engine. The two spark plugs were removed; the aft cylinder spark plug was dark grey in color and exhibited normal wear. The front spark plug was white in color. Thumb compression was obtained on the aft cylinder, however, no compression was observed on the front cylinder.

The top section of the engine case was removed to facilitate further examination, and a hole was found in the front cylinder piston. The hole was approximately 1 centimeter in diameter located in the center of the piston. The aft cylinder exhibited carbon deposits and oil residue on the top of the cylinder. The connecting rod bearings were loose in both the front and aft cylinders. The exhaust y-pipe was removed and carbon deposits were noted in the aft exhaust pipe. The front cylinder exhaust gas temperature probe was white in color, and the aft cylinder exhaust gas temperature probe was grey in color.

Each of the engine's two carburetors were impact separated but remained attached to the engine through cables. Disassembly of both carburetors revealed that the respective jet needles were on the third clip from the top and were under the white retaining cup, and both the main jet and the pilot jet were free of debris. The front and aft carburetor rubber adaptors contained cracks and evidence consistent with material degradation. The front carburetor adaptor was also partially fractured in several places around the boot.

The rotary valve plate cover was removed to examine the timing of the rotary valve. It was timed so that the intake port on the cylinder was fully open when the respective piston was at the top dead center position.

The ignition coil remained attached to the engine; however, a wire was separated. The coil was rigged and was tested. Ignition continuity was confirmed from the flywheel to the spark plugs during propeller rotation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Medical Examiner, Nashville, Tennessee, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy report indicated that the pilot died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of the pilot. Fluid and tissue specimens from the pilot tested negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. Sitagliptin, an oral prescription medication for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, was detected in the liver and blood. The pilot's diabetes and his treatment were not likely to be impairing at the time of the accident.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

A Garmin Aera 500 GPS navigation device was recovered from the wreckage and sent to the NTSB Recorders laboratory for download. The retrieved data indicated that the airplane began its taxi at 1509 and departed runway 01 about 1515. The airplane maneuvered in the area, returned to the airport, and landed on runway 04 about 1537. It back-taxied on the runway and began another takeoff at 1538:08. At 1539:02, the airplane reached a maximum of 853 ft GPS altitude at a ground speed of 41 knots, and then began a descending left turn. The airplane continued descending, completed a 360° left turn, and the last data point recorded was at 1539:49, at 620 ft GPS altitude. During the last minute of recorded data, the airplane's ground speed peaked at 46 knots and decreased to 2 knots through the turn.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Engine Operator's Manual

According to the engine operator's manual, the proper mixing ratio of fuel to oil was 50:1. The manual stated, "Too much oil will cause carbon deposits on the spark plug, on the piston, in the cylinder ports and in the muffler and will cause problems." The manual stated that white spark plug electrodes indicated a low heat range (hot plug) or excessively lean carburetor calibration.

Engine Repair Manual

The engine repair manual stated that the carburetor must be checked and adjusted after every 25 hours of operation. The carburetor adaptor should be checked thoroughly for "tightness, cracks, cuts or other physical damage." The manual stated that, at "the slightest signs of damage" the carburetor adaptor should be exchanged, "Otherwise pressure conditions in carburetor will be changed, additional air will be taken in, possibly leading to engine damage."

Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge – Aircraft Systems

According to the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge,

"Detonation is an uncontrolled, explosive ignition of the fuel/air mixture within the cylinder's combustion chamber. It causes excessive temperatures and pressures which, if not corrected, can quickly lead to failure of the piston, cylinder, or valves.

Detonation is characterized by high cylinder head temperatures and most likely occur when operating at high power settings. Common operational causes of detonation are:
- Use of a lower fuel grade than that specified by the aircraft manufacturer.
- Operation of the engine with extremely high manifold pressures in conjunction with low rpm.
- Operation of the engine at high power settings with an excessively lean mixture.
- Maintaining extended ground operations or steep climbs in which cylinder cooling is reduced.

Preignition occurs when the fuel/air mixture ignites prior to the engine's normal ignition event. Premature burning is usually caused by a residual hot spot in the combustion chamber, often created by a small carbon deposit on a spark plug, a cracked spark plug insulator, or other damage in the cylinder that causes a part to heat sufficiently to ignite the fuel/air charge… Detonation and preignition often occur simultaneously and one may cause the other."

According to an engine manufacturer presentation on piston failure analysis, the damage noted on the front piston was consistent with piston dome detonation, which can be a result of "pre-ignition, leading to detonation."

A pamphlet published by the FAA Safety Team entitled, "Aircraft Control After Engine Failure on Takeoff" stated, "Studies have shown that startle responses during unexpected situations such as a powerplant failure during takeoff or initial climb have contributed to loss of control of aircraft…Research indicates a higher probability of survival if you continue straight ahead following an engine failure after takeoff. Turning back actually requires a turn of greater than 180 degrees after taking into account the turning radius. Making a turn at low altitudes and airspeeds could create a scenario for a stall/spin accident."

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA084
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 07, 2016 in Lebanon, TN
Aircraft: EROS 1600, registration: N508AH
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 7, 2016, about 1530 central standard time, an experimental amateur-built Eros 1600, N508AH, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain following a total loss of engine power near Lebanon, Tennessee. The private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated from Lebanon Municipal Airport (M54). The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to witnesses, the airplane completed two circuits in the traffic pattern of runway 04 at M54, and during the subsequent takeoff, it experienced a total loss of engine power. The airplane made a right turn about 100 feet above ground level, it then banked "sharply" to the left, and "went straight down."

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single engine land. He was issued a third-class medical certificate on August 24, 2006, with no limitations. The pilot's logbooks were located and indicated that he had approximately 259 total hours of flight time, of which, 8.9 hours were in the accident airplane. His most recent flight review was signed-off on May 27, 2014. In addition, the pilot held a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate that was issued on May 15, 2014.

According to FAA records, the experimental amateur-built airplane was owned by the pilot and issued an airworthiness certificate on May 15, 2014. It was equipped with a two-cylinder Rotax 532 engine, which was installed on October 7, 2015. According to maintenance logs, the airplane had a total time of about 14 hours. In addition, a condition inspection was performed on the airplane by the pilot/owner on October 7, 2015, at a total time of 1.6 hours.

The airplane impacted terrain and came to rest inverted, on a westerly heading, in the immediate vicinity of a residence that was located about 850 feet from the departure end of runway 04. All components of the airplane were located in the vicinity of the wreckage. Flight control continuity was established from the flight controls in the cockpit to all flight control surfaces.

The propeller was rotated by hand and engine continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the back of the engine. In addition, thumb compression was obtained on the back cylinder, however, no compression was observed on the front cylinder.

The top section of the engine case was removed to facilitate further examination and a hole was found in the front cylinder piston. The hole was approximately one centimeter in diameter located in the center of the piston. The back cylinder exhibited carbon deposits and oil residue on the top of the cylinder. The connecting rod bearings were loose in both the front and back cylinders.

Both carburetors were impact separated but remained attached to the engine through cables. Disassembly of both carburetors revealed that the respective jet needle was on the third clip from the top and was under the white retaining cup, and both the main jet and the pilot jet were free of debris. The back and front carburetor boots contained cracks and evidence consistent with material degradation.

A Garmin Aera 500 global position system receiver was recovered from the wreckage and sent to the NTSB Recorders laboratory for data download.




Mark Leon Harrell, age 56, of Lebanon, died January 7, 2016. Harrell was a member of Gladeville Baptist Church where he served as a Deacon and was a member of the GBC Praise Band. He was a self-employed general contractor.

Mark had a passion for flying from an early age and was an avid trumpet player who played with the Jazz Alliance. He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Harrell.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Lisa B. Harrell; mother Louise Harrell; sons Mason (Rachel) Harrell, Trent G. (Rachel) Harrell and Cameron Harrell and his fiance' Brooke Fillmore; brothers Ron Harrell and Joe Harrell; sisters Jennifer Smith and Elizabeth Chadwick and granddaughter Emmalyn Harrell, as well as several nieces, nephews and numerous other extended family.

A Celebration of Life will be conducted 3 p.m. Sunday, January 10, 2016, at Gladeville Baptist Church, 9000 Stewarts Ferry Pike, Mt. Juliet, TN with Rev. Mark Mitchell officiating. Per Mark's wishes, the family requests casual attire.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Gladeville Baptist Church, 9000 Stewarts Ferry Pike, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122.

Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Saturday at the church.

Bond Memorial Chapel in Mt. Juliet is in charge of arrangements.

LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) – A pilot died after his plane crashed in the backyard of a Lebanon home Thursday afternoon around 3:45 p.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it happened “after departure under unknown circumstances from the Lebanon Municipal Airport,” which is just blocks away from where the plane crashed on Kent Drive.

Nearby homeowner Russell Price told News 2 he could hear the plane as it took off, saying, “I heard the engine die, which is sometimes normal.

“Sometimes they start back up, but I didn’t hear this one start back up. The next thing I heard was a crash,” Price added.

The pilot, 50-year-old Mark Harrell of Lebanon, was being given CPR by emergency personnel when News 2 arrived but was soon transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

Police told News 2 he was pronounced dead soon after.

No one else was on the plane, which the FAA said was an Eros 1600, an experimental aircraft.

The home sustained minimum damage, as Harrell landed merely a foot away, and no other injuries were reported.

“The FAA will investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will determine the probable cause of the accident,” the FAA also said in a statement.

Further details weren’t immediately released.

Buddy Burris, a friend of Harrell, told News 2 he was an excellent pilot who was abundantly cautious.

“There was a little bit of a miss in the engine, so we were working on it today, working on the ignition. It was running fine,” Burris said.

He co-owned a plane with Harrell and the two friends often spent time in their shared airplane hangar.

“Summer afternoons, we’d sit out here and we’d get to look at is field and runway and that’d make us happy,” Burris said.

He told News 2 Harrell leaves behind a wife, three grown sons and some grandchildren.

“Mark was a Christian; he was an honest man,” said Burris through tears. “A true friend.”

Burris also said Harrell had spent seven years building the Eros 1600 and had about 10 hours in flights on it.

Story and video:  http://wkrn.com




LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) – A pilot died after his plane crashed in the backyard of a Lebanon home Thursday afternoon around 3:45 p.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it happened “after departure under unknown circumstances from the Lebanon Municipal Airport,” which is just blocks away from where the plane crashed on Kent Drive.

The pilot, Mark Harrell, was being given CPR by emergency personnel when News 2 arrived but was soon transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

Police told News 2 he was pronounced dead soon after.

No one else was on the plane, which the FAA said was an Eros 1600, an experimental aircraft.

Witnesses told News 2 they could hear something was wrong with the plane before it crashed.

The home sustained minimum damage and no other injuries were reported.

“The FAA will investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will determine the probable cause of the accident,” the FAA also said in a statement.
Source:  http://wkrn.com





The pilot of "an experimental aircraft" has died after the small-engine plane crashed near Lebanon Municipal Airport on Kent Road at 3:40 p.m. Thursday.

Lebanon Public Safety spokesman Mike Justice said the plane landed in the backyard of a house on Kent Road, two blocks from the Lebanon airport.

Police said pilot Mark L. Harrell, 50, of Lebanon, was transported to University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Police say there is no damage to the residence, and there are no other injuries.

Witnesses heard what they said sounded like engine trouble before the plane crashed.

Russell Price was outside working at his mother's home across the street when the crash occurred.

“This plane made two passes, which is not uncommon. The airport is right here, so these planes fly low a lot. But that second pass, he was really low. I mean I could hear the exhaust hitting each piston, that’s how close he was," Price said. "I looked up, and he was at about my 12 o’clock; and when he was right above me and I looked up, the engine stalled. Sometimes they do that and they cut back on. His didn’t come back on. Then I heard a loud boom, like a car crash."

Lucas Tramel was inside the home next door when the aircraft crashed.

"I kept going around the corner of the house, and I realized the plane was in our neighbor's yard," Tramel said.

Price and Tramel both were part of a group, including emergency personnel, that lifted the plane off the pilot. Several neighbors said the victim was unresponsive.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Arlene Salac said an Eros 1600 experimental aircraft crashed after departure from the Lebanon Municipal Airport. The cause of the crash is unknown, she said. The FAA will continue to investigate the crash, and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident.

Source: http://www.tennessean.com





LEBANON, Tenn. - The pilot of a single-engine plane involved in a crash in Wilson County has died.

Officials with the Lebanon Police Department said the crash happened near Kent Drive and the Lebanon Municipal Airport.


Police taped off a residential area at the corner of Kent Drive where the plane landed in the backyard of a home.


One man was inside the plane at the time. Officials said he was flying a one-seater experimental plane.


First responders spent time trying to help the man and conducting CPR. He suffered serious injuries and was taken to University Medical Center. His condition was not known.


His identity was not given, but authorities said he was in his 50's.


"It landed in the backyard of the house," said P.J. Hardy, of the Lebanon Police Department. "There's not a lot of damage. From some of the eye witness statements, it came pretty much straight down, so there wasn't much residual damage to the surrounding property."


According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane was registered to a Lebanon resident.


Neighbors and witnesses in the area said they heard loud noises coming from the plane before it went down.


Story, video and photo gallery: http://www.newschannel5.com












Piper PA-28R-200, N54380, operated by Palm Beach Flight Training -and- Robinson R22B, N475AT, operated by Palm Beach Helicopters

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA115A 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 28, 2015 in West Palm Beach, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/28/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-200, registration: N54380
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

 NTSB Identification: ERA15LA115B
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 28, 2015 in West Palm Beach, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/28/2016
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22 BETA, registration: N475AT
Injuries: 4 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.

The designated pilot examiner (DPE) and the commercial pilot on board the airplane were performing left traffic patterns during a checkride. A helicopter was simultaneously performing right traffic patterns to the same runway. Throughout the flight, the DPE and pilot had observed the accident helicopter and other helicopters in the right traffic pattern completing their approaches parallel to and to the right side of the runway. The airplane was on the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern, with the commercial pilot preparing for a simulated power-off landing. In light of the previously-observed helicopter operations to the right side of the runway, the DPE advised the pilot that the airplane would remain clear of the helicopters and to continue the approach and landing. The helicopter, however, was established on a shallow, final approach leg of the traffic pattern for a run-on landing. Upon entering the turn from the downwind leg and while on the final approach leg of the traffic pattern for landing, the DPE’s view of the accident helicopter was blocked by the cabin and right wing. The airplane overtook the helicopter from above, and the aircraft collided. The helicopter entered a rapid, controlled descent to the runway. The airplane completed a go-around and subsequently landed safely. Review of recorded radio communications revealed that the pilots in the airplane transmitted position reports for the crosswind and downwind legs of the traffic pattern only, but did not announce their intentions to conduct, or the airplane’s entry into, the simulated power-off landing maneuver. The helicopter pilots transmitted position reports on the downwind, base, and final legs of the traffic pattern, but before the accident landing approach, announced only that the helicopter was “turning final.” The helicopter pilots provided no specificity about the shallow approach or performing a run-on landing to the runway surface. Other helicopters operating in the traffic pattern on the day of the accident had conducted their operations to the grass on the right side of the runway. On the previous approach, the accident helicopter pilots had announced their intention to land the helicopter in the grass abeam the runway. The lack of explicit communication from the helicopter pilots regarding their intentions resulted in the helicopter being in a position that was unexpected to the airplane pilots. In the absence of any information to the contrary, the airplane pilots likely assumed that the accident helicopter would continue to remain clear of the runway and the extended runway centerline, as it and other helicopters had done during previous approaches. This likely lowered the airplane pilots' vigilance in maintaining visual contact with the helicopter throughout the approach for landing.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The failure of the airplane pilots to maintain an adequate visual lookout for known traffic in the traffic pattern, which resulted in a midair collision. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the airplane pilots to announce their intentions before landing, and the helicopter pilots' lack of specificity in their radio communications.

On January 28, 2015, about 1200 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28R-200 airplane, N54380, operated by Palm Beach Flight Training, and a Robinson R22B helicopter, N475AT, operated by Palm Beach Helicopters, collided while maneuvering for landing at Palm Beach County Park Airport (LNA), West Palm Beach, Florida. The helicopter performed a precautionary landing to the runway, while the airplane performed a go-around and subsequently landed uneventfully. The helicopter sustained substantial damage and the airplane sustained minor damage. The flight instructor and private pilot receiving instruction in the helicopter were not injured. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designated pilot examiner (DPE) and commercial pilot on board the airplane were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for either instructional flight, both of which were conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilots in each aircraft provided written statements, and their statements were consistent throughout. The pilot in the airplane was undergoing a flight instructor practical test from the DPE, and the airplane-rated pilot in the helicopter was receiving primary rotary wing instruction.

Radar information from the FAA revealed that both aircraft were operating in the traffic pattern for runway 33 at LNA prior to the accident. The airplane was performing left traffic patterns, while the helicopter was performing right traffic patterns.

The helicopter maneuvered around the right traffic pattern and was established on a shallow final approach for a run-on landing. About the same time, the airplane was on the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern, with the applicant pilot preparing for a simulated power-off landing.

The DPE stated that while the airplane had been conducting left traffic patterns, he and the applicant had observed other helicopters in the right traffic pattern completing their approaches parallel and to the right side of runway 33. In light of these operations, the DPE advised the applicant that the airplane would remain clear of the helicopter, and to continue the approach and landing. Once the airplane entered the turn from the downwind leg and while on the final approach leg of the traffic pattern, the DPE's view of the helicopter was blocked by the cabin and right wing.

Witnesses observed the airplane overtake the helicopter from above, heard the contact, and watched the helicopter enter a rapid, controlled descent to the runway. The airplane banked sharply, the engine accelerated, and completed a go-around.

A review of the recorded radio communications revealed that the helicopter transmitted position reports on the downwind, base, and final legs of the traffic pattern. The airplane transmitted position reports for the crosswind and downwind legs only, and did not announce its intentions or its entry into the simulated power-off landing.

On its previous approach, the helicopter announced its intention to land in the grass abeam the runway, but prior to the accident; the helicopter announced only that it was "turning final." There was no specificity about a shallow approach or performing a run-on landing to the runway surface.

The airplane pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued September 16, 2014. He reported 677 total hours of flight experience, of which 22 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

The DPE held an airline transport pilot certificate with multiple type ratings, and a flight instructor certificate with multiple ratings. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued January 16, 2014. The DPE reported 33,164 total hours of flight experience, of which 234 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

The flight instructor in the helicopter held commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates with ratings for airplane single-engine, multiengine, and rotorcraft-helicopter. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued June 26, 2014, and he reported 1,498 total hours of flight experience, of which 521 hours were in the accident helicopter make and model.

The helicopter pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land. His most recent FAA first class medical certificate was issued December 22, 2014. He reported 265 total hours of flight experience, of which 12 hours were in the accident helicopter make and model.

LNA was not tower-controlled. Runway 15/33 was 3,421 feet long and 100 feet wide, and was located along the east side of the field. The grass area on the east side of the runway was approximately 200 feet wide.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed damage to the cabin step. The helicopter displayed substantial damage to the leading edge and spar of one main rotor blade. The pilots of both the airplane and helicopter reported that there were no mechanical issues that would have precluded normal operation of their aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Regulations, Part 91.126 states, in part, "Each pilot of a helicopter or powered parachute must avoid the flow of fixed-wing traffic."

The FAA Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), Chapter 4, Section 4-1-9, Traffic Advisory Practices at Airports Without Operating Control Towers, states, "There is no substitute for alertness while in the vicinity of an airport. It is essential that pilots be alert and look for traffic and exchange traffic information when approaching or departing an airport without an operating control tower…To achieve the greatest degree of safety, it is essential that all radio-equipped aircraft transmit/receive on a common frequency identified for the purpose of airport advisories." The AIM recommends that when operating at an airport without a control tower, pilots self-announce their position on the downwind, base, and final legs of the traffic pattern.

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

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


NTSB Identification: ERA15LA115A

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 28, 2015 in West Palm Beach, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/28/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-200, registration: N54380
Injuries: 4 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.


The designated pilot examiner (DPE) and the commercial pilot on board the airplane were performing left traffic patterns during a checkride. A helicopter was simultaneously performing right traffic patterns to the same runway. Throughout the flight, the DPE and pilot had observed the accident helicopter and other helicopters in the right traffic pattern completing their approaches parallel to and to the right side of the runway. The airplane was on the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern, with the commercial pilot preparing for a simulated power-off landing. In light of the previously-observed helicopter operations to the right side of the runway, the DPE advised the pilot that the airplane would remain clear of the helicopters and to continue the approach and landing. The helicopter, however, was established on a shallow, final approach leg of the traffic pattern for a run-on landing. Upon entering the turn from the downwind leg and while on the final approach leg of the traffic pattern for landing, the DPE’s view of the accident helicopter was blocked by the cabin and right wing. The airplane overtook the helicopter from above, and the aircraft collided. The helicopter entered a rapid, controlled descent to the runway. The airplane completed a go-around and subsequently landed safely. Review of recorded radio communications revealed that the pilots in the airplane transmitted position reports for the crosswind and downwind legs of the traffic pattern only, but did not announce their intentions to conduct, or the airplane’s entry into, the simulated power-off landing maneuver. The helicopter pilots transmitted position reports on the downwind, base, and final legs of the traffic pattern, but before the accident landing approach, announced only that the helicopter was “turning final.” The helicopter pilots provided no specificity about the shallow approach or performing a run-on landing to the runway surface. Other helicopters operating in the traffic pattern on the day of the accident had conducted their operations to the grass on the right side of the runway. On the previous approach, the accident helicopter pilots had announced their intention to land the helicopter in the grass abeam the runway. The lack of explicit communication from the helicopter pilots regarding their intentions resulted in the helicopter being in a position that was unexpected to the airplane pilots. In the absence of any information to the contrary, the airplane pilots likely assumed that the accident helicopter would continue to remain clear of the runway and the extended runway centerline, as it and other helicopters had done during previous approaches. This likely lowered the airplane pilots' vigilance in maintaining visual contact with the helicopter throughout the approach for landing.


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

The failure of the airplane pilots to maintain an adequate visual lookout for known traffic in the traffic pattern, which resulted in a midair collision. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the airplane pilots to announce their intentions before landing, and the helicopter pilots' lack of specificity in their radio communications.

On January 28, 2015, about 1200 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28R-200 airplane, N54380, operated by Palm Beach Flight Training, and a Robinson R22B helicopter, N475AT, operated by Palm Beach Helicopters, collided while maneuvering for landing at Palm Beach County Park Airport (LNA), West Palm Beach, Florida. The helicopter performed a precautionary landing to the runway, while the airplane performed a go-around and subsequently landed uneventfully. The helicopter sustained substantial damage and the airplane sustained minor damage. The flight instructor and private pilot receiving instruction in the helicopter were not injured. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designated pilot examiner (DPE) and commercial pilot on board the airplane were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for either instructional flight, both of which were conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.


The pilots in each aircraft provided written statements, and their statements were consistent throughout. The pilot in the airplane was undergoing a flight instructor practical test from the DPE, and the airplane-rated pilot in the helicopter was receiving primary rotary wing instruction.


Radar information from the FAA revealed that both aircraft were operating in the traffic pattern for runway 33 at LNA prior to the accident. The airplane was performing left traffic patterns, while the helicopter was performing right traffic patterns.


The helicopter maneuvered around the right traffic pattern and was established on a shallow final approach for a run-on landing. About the same time, the airplane was on the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern, with the applicant pilot preparing for a simulated power-off landing.


The DPE stated that while the airplane had been conducting left traffic patterns, he and the applicant had observed other helicopters in the right traffic pattern completing their approaches parallel and to the right side of runway 33. In light of these operations, the DPE advised the applicant that the airplane would remain clear of the helicopter, and to continue the approach and landing. Once the airplane entered the turn from the downwind leg and while on the final approach leg of the traffic pattern, the DPE's view of the helicopter was blocked by the cabin and right wing.


Witnesses observed the airplane overtake the helicopter from above, heard the contact, and watched the helicopter enter a rapid, controlled descent to the runway. The airplane banked sharply, the engine accelerated, and completed a go-around.


A review of the recorded radio communications revealed that the helicopter transmitted position reports on the downwind, base, and final legs of the traffic pattern. The airplane transmitted position reports for the crosswind and downwind legs only, and did not announce its intentions or its entry into the simulated power-off landing.


On its previous approach, the helicopter announced its intention to land in the grass abeam the runway, but prior to the accident; the helicopter announced only that it was "turning final." There was no specificity about a shallow approach or performing a run-on landing to the runway surface.


The airplane pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued September 16, 2014. He reported 677 total hours of flight experience, of which 22 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.


The DPE held an airline transport pilot certificate with multiple type ratings, and a flight instructor certificate with multiple ratings. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued January 16, 2014. The DPE reported 33,164 total hours of flight experience, of which 234 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.


The flight instructor in the helicopter held commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates with ratings for airplane single-engine, multiengine, and rotorcraft-helicopter. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued June 26, 2014, and he reported 1,498 total hours of flight experience, of which 521 hours were in the accident helicopter make and model.


The helicopter pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land. His most recent FAA first class medical certificate was issued December 22, 2014. He reported 265 total hours of flight experience, of which 12 hours were in the accident helicopter make and model.


LNA was not tower-controlled. Runway 15/33 was 3,421 feet long and 100 feet wide, and was located along the east side of the field. The grass area on the east side of the runway was approximately 200 feet wide.


Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed damage to the cabin step. The helicopter displayed substantial damage to the leading edge and spar of one main rotor blade. The pilots of both the airplane and helicopter reported that there were no mechanical issues that would have precluded normal operation of their aircraft.


The Federal Aviation Regulations, Part 91.126 states, in part, "Each pilot of a helicopter or powered parachute must avoid the flow of fixed-wing traffic."


The FAA Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), Chapter 4, Section 4-1-9, Traffic Advisory Practices at Airports Without Operating Control Towers, states, "There is no substitute for alertness while in the vicinity of an airport. It is essential that pilots be alert and look for traffic and exchange traffic information when approaching or departing an airport without an operating control tower…To achieve the greatest degree of safety, it is essential that all radio-equipped aircraft transmit/receive on a common frequency identified for the purpose of airport advisories." The AIM recommends that when operating at an airport without a control tower, pilots self-announce their position on the downwind, base, and final legs of the traffic pattern.


NTSB Identification: ERA15FA299
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 10, 2015 in Marathon, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/08/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R, registration: N54380
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.

According to the airplane owner, the noninstrument-rated pilot had rented the airplane in Palm Beach, Florida, 1 day before the accident and was not scheduled to return the airplane until the day after the accident. The rental agreement prohibited night flight to or from the Florida Keys. However, about 4 hours after sunset on the night of the accident, the pilot departed an airport on the Florida Keys. Airport security video recorded the airplane becoming airborne, climbing, and beginning to turn right. A witness reported seeing the airplane descending into the water with the engines running. The flight was conducted on a dark, moonless night, and in a sparsely populated area of Florida near the water. No visible horizon could be seen on the video. Based on the dark night conditions, the lack of visual reference at the time of the accident, the pilot’s low overall flight time, and the pilot’s lack of an instrument rating, it is likely that he became spatially disoriented, which led to the subsequent descent into water.
Examination of the wreckage revealed a right wing low attitude at the time of the impact, which was consistent with the pilot maintaining the right turn seen in the security video recordings. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or abnormalities that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain a positive climb rate after takeoff due to spatial disorientation while turning after takeoff in dark night conditions in a sparsely populated area, which resulted in the airplane’s descent into water. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to depart on a night flight over water.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 10, 2015 about 0035 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-200, N54380, was destroyed when it impacted the water after takeoff from the Marathon Airport (MTH), Marathon, Florida. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The flight had an intended destination of Palm Beach County Park Airport (LNA), West Palm Beach, Florida. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan had been filed. The airplane was owned by The Wildwood Helicopter Company, Inc. and operated by Palm Beach Flight Training. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Airport security video recorded the airplane taxing out to the runway and began the takeoff roll, on runway 25, at 0034. A second video captured the airplane after it had already become airborne, a few feet above ground level, at an indicated time of 0034:17. The recording revealed the airplane climbing on the upwind leg of the traffic pattern, and began to turn right for the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern about 0034:59. At 0035:22, the airplane lights were no longer visible. The recording further revealed the absence of any visible horizon to the northwest of the airport. The video was further overlaid by a daytime screen shot, to verify that the view of the airplane was unhindered. The modified video revealed one tree had obstructed the actual impact with the water.

According to a representative of Palm Beach Flight Training, the pilot rented the airplane on August 9, 2015, departed about noon, and was not to return until Tuesday August 11, 2015.

According to an eyewitness, the airplane was observed descending into the water and the engine could be heard operating.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and flight school records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating, which was issued December 20, 2012. He held an FAA third-class medical certificate, issued April 15, 2014, and was issued with a limitation of "Must have available glasses for near vision." At the time of the medical examination, the pilot reported 125.5 total hours of flight experience and 5.0 hours of flight experience in the 6 months prior to the medical certificate. Documentation provided by the flight school did not include any flight time, but did indicate that the pilot accomplished an airplane checkout on August 9, 2015. The pilot also received his "PIC [Pilot-in-command] in a complex airplane" endorsement on May 4, 2015 and had accomplished a flight review on December 17, 2014. At the time of this writing the pilot's flight time logbook had not been located, as such, his total and recent night flying experience could not be determined.

The pilot rented the airplane from Palm Beach Flight Training in the afternoon of August 9, 2015. The rental agreement provided by the flight school, dated September 6, 2009, contained the pilot's signature and included several limitations. One of the limitations was "There are not to be any night flights to or from the Bahamas or Florida Keys before sunrise or after sunset."

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA and aircraft maintenance records, the airplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on November 15, 1973 and was originally registered to Wildwood Helicopter Company Inc. on October 25, 2013. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-360-C1C engine. It was also driven by a Hartzell propeller HC-C3YK-1RE/F7282. According to the maintenance records, the most recent annual inspection was conducted on November 14, 2014 with a recorded tachometer of 7,566.53 hours, which correlated to 8,817.07 hours total time in service. According to the operator, the last recorded 100-hour inspection was completed on July 10, 2015, at a recorded tachometer time of 7,561.53 hours. At the time of that entry, the airframe had accumulated 9,012.07 hours total time. The engine had accumulated 791.42 hours since major overhaul and 10,292.91 hours total time in service. The propeller had accumulated 2,382.92 hours total time in service. The tachometer was located within the instrument panel and indicated 7,578.91 hours.

According to fuel records located at MTH, the airplane was fueled with 16.8 gallons of "Avgas." The credit card receipt associated with the refueling had a time stamp of 1430:49, on August 9, 2015. The fuel order also indicated "Top off all tanks."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 0054 recorded weather observation at MTH, included calm wind, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 29 degrees C, dew point 24 degrees C; barometric altimeter 29.95 inches of mercury.

According to the United States Naval Observatory, Sun and Moon Data, official sunset was at 2003 and end of civil twilight was 2027. The moonset occurred at 1703 and 15 percent of the moon disc may have been visible had the moon been above the horizon.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane was found in the Florida Bay, in about 9 feet of water. The main wreckage was located at 24°43.8N and 081°04.6W. The debris path was fairly compact. The wreckage debris path was oriented on a line that ran parallel to the shore. However, due to tide changes it could not be accurately determined the original debris path in relation to the main wreckage, which was located on a 320 degree magnetic heading and about 1.5 miles from the MTH.

Examination revealed that the airplane exhibited impact and crush damage to both wings, cabin, and fuselage. The airplane was segmented into numerous pieces. The right side stabilator was damaged in the aft and positive direction at an approximate 45-degree angle. The right wing main spar exhibited an approximate 50-degree twist. Impact and crush damage was consistent with the airplane impacting the water in a right wing low, nose down attitude. An outboard portion of the left wing, left wing aileron, and main cabin door were unable to be located. Examination of the engine revealed crankshaft and valve train continuity from the propeller flange to the rear accessory pad. Thumb compression was noted on all cylinders. A fluid, similar in smell as 100LL Aviation fuel was present in all fuel lines and in the fuel pump. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the base of the control column to the aileron bellcrank, located in each wing and the stabilator. One of the two rudder cables exhibited tensile overload; however, rudder control continuity was confirmed from the pilot's rudder pedals to the rudder.

The airplane's instrument panel was examined and the as found indications were noted. The airspeed indicator was in place and indicated about 100 knots. The attitude indicator was found tumbled; however, the instrument case exhibited minimal damage and the unit was disassembled. Examination of the gyro and gyro case revealed no score marks; however, due to salt water saturation, corrosion was evident throughout the instrument case. The turn and bank indicator indicated a right wing low attitude. The directional gyro indicated about 325 degrees and the heading preselect indicator was found selected to 015 degrees.

The engine remained attached to the airplane with electrical and fuel lines, cables, and was collocated with the main wreckage. The propeller was impact separated at the propeller flange, and was located about 300 feet from the main wreckage. All three propeller blades exhibited cord wise bending. The vacuum pump was removed and rotated by hand. Suction was noted and the vanes were audible noted as having unimpeded movement during hand rotation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on August 11, 2015, by the Office of the Medical Examiner, located in Marathon, Florida. The autopsy findings included "Multiple blunt force injuries." The report listed the specific injuries.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot, by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated no ethanol nor drugs were detected in urine.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Spatial Disorientation

The FAA's Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge contained guidance which stated that "under normal flight conditions, when there is a visual reference to the horizon and ground, the sensory system in the inner ear helps to identify the pitch, roll, and yaw movements of the airplane. When visual contact with the horizon is lost, the vestibular system becomes unreliable. Without visual references outside the airplane, there are many situations where combinations of normal motions and forces can create convincing illusions that are difficult to overcome."

The Handbook also advised, "unless a pilot has many hours of training in instrument flight, flight in reduced visibility or at night when the horizon is not visible should be avoided."

The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3) described some hazards associated with flying when visual references, such as the ground or horizon, are obscured. "The vestibular sense (motion sensing by the inner ear) in particular tends to confuse the pilot. Because of inertia, the sensory areas of the inner ear cannot detect slight changes in the attitude of the airplane, nor can they accurately sense attitude changes that occur at a uniform rate over a period of time. On the other hand, false sensations are often generated; leading the pilot to believe the attitude of the airplane has changed when in fact, it has not. These false sensations result in the pilot experiencing spatial disorientation."

FAA Publication "Spatial Disorientation Visual Illusions" (OK-11-1550) , states in part "false visual reference illusions may cause you to orient your aircraft in relation to a false horizon; these illusions are caused by flying over a banked cloud, night flying over featureless terrain with ground lights that are indistinguishable from a dark sky with stars, or night flying over a featureless terrain with a clearly defined pattern of ground lights and a dark starless sky." The publication further provides guidance on the prevention of spatial disorientation. One of the preventive measures was "When flying at night or in reduced visibility, use and rely on your flight instruments." It further states "if you experience a visual illusion during flight (most pilots do at one time or another), have confidence in your instruments and ignore all conflicting signals your body gives you. Accidents usually happen as a result of a pilot's indecision to rely on the instruments."

Although FAA Advisory Circular AC 60-4A, "Pilot's Spatial Disorientation," was canceled in May 2015, it provided credible information. The tests conducted with qualified instrument pilots indicated that it can take as long as 35 seconds to establish full control by instruments after a loss of visual reference of the earth's surface.


The FAA publication Medical Facts for Pilots (AM-400-03/1), described several vestibular illusions associated with the operation of aircraft in low visibility conditions. Somatogravic illusions, those involving the semicircular canals of the vestibular system, were generally placed into one of four categories, one of which was the "graveyard spiral." According to the text, the graveyard spiral, "…is associated with a return to level flight following an intentional or unintentional prolonged bank turn. For example, a pilot who enters a banking turn to the left will initially have a sensation of a turn in the same direction. If the left turn continues (~20 seconds or more), the pilot will experience the sensation that the airplane is no longer turning to the left. At this point, if the pilot attempts to level the wings this action will produce a sensation that the airplane is turning and banking in the opposite direction (to the right). If the pilot believes the illusion of a right turn (which can be very compelling), he/she will reenter the original left turn in an attempt to counteract the sensation of a right turn. Unfortunately, while this is happening, the airplane is still turning to the left and losing altitude.




Edward "Russ" Elgin Jr.



WILDWOOD HELICOPTER CO INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N54380 
 
NTSB Identification: ERA15FA299
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 10, 2015 in Marathon, FL
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R, registration: N54380
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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 10, 2015 about 0035 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-200, N54380, was destroyed when it impacted the water after takeoff from the Marathon Airport (MTH), Marathon, Florida. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The flight had an intended destination of Palm Beach County Park Airport (LNA), West Palm Beach, Florida. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan had been filed. The airplane was owned by The Wildwood Helicopter Company, Inc. and operated by Palm Beach Flight Training. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Airport security video recorded the airplane taxing out to the runway and began the takeoff roll, on runway 25, at 0034. A second video captured the airplane after it had already become airborne, a few feet above ground level, at an indicated time of 0034:17. The recording revealed the airplane climbing on the upwind leg of the traffic pattern, and began to turn right for the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern about 0034:59. At 0035:22, the airplane lights were no longer visible. The recording further revealed the absence of any visible horizon to the northwest of the airport. The video was further overlaid by a daytime screen shot, to verify that the view of the airplane was unhindered. The modified video revealed one tree had obstructed the actual impact with the water.

According to a representative of Palm Beach Flight Training, the pilot rented the airplane on August 9, 2015, departed about noon, and was not to return until Tuesday August 11, 2015.

According to an eyewitness, the airplane was observed descending into the water and the engine could be heard operating.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and flight school records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating, which was issued December 20, 2012. He held an FAA third-class medical certificate, issued April 15, 2014, and was issued with a limitation of "Must have available glasses for near vision." At the time of the medical examination, the pilot reported 125.5 total hours of flight experience and 5.0 hours of flight experience in the 6 months prior to the medical certificate. Documentation provided by the flight school did not include any flight time, but did indicate that the pilot accomplished an airplane checkout on August 9, 2015. The pilot also received his "PIC [Pilot-in-command] in a complex airplane" endorsement on May 4, 2015 and had accomplished a flight review on December 17, 2014. At the time of this writing the pilot's flight time logbook had not been located, as such, his total and recent night flying experience could not be determined.

The pilot rented the airplane from Palm Beach Flight Training in the afternoon of August 9, 2015. The rental agreement provided by the flight school, dated September 6, 2009, contained the pilot's signature and included several limitations. One of the limitations was "There are not to be any night flights to or from the Bahamas or Florida Keys before sunrise or after sunset."

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA and aircraft maintenance records, the airplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on November 15, 1973 and was originally registered to Wildwood Helicopter Company Inc. on October 25, 2013. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-360-C1C engine. It was also driven by a Hartzell propeller HC-C3YK-1RE/F7282. According to the maintenance records, the most recent annual inspection was conducted on November 14, 2014 with a recorded tachometer of 7,566.53 hours, which correlated to 8,817.07 hours total time in service. According to the operator, the last recorded 100-hour inspection was completed on July 10, 2015, at a recorded tachometer time of 7,561.53 hours. At the time of that entry, the airframe had accumulated 9,012.07 hours total time. The engine had accumulated 791.42 hours since major overhaul and 10,292.91 hours total time in service. The propeller had accumulated 2,382.92 hours total time in service. The tachometer was located within the instrument panel and indicated 7,578.91 hours.

According to fuel records located at MTH, the airplane was fueled with 16.8 gallons of "Avgas." The credit card receipt associated with the refueling had a time stamp of 1430:49, on August 9, 2015. The fuel order also indicated "Top off all tanks."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 0054 recorded weather observation at MTH, included calm wind, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 29 degrees C, dew point 24 degrees C; barometric altimeter 29.95 inches of mercury.

According to the United States Naval Observatory, Sun and Moon Data, official sunset was at 2003 and end of civil twilight was 2027. The moonset occurred at 1703 and 15 percent of the moon disc may have been visible had the moon been above the horizon.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane was found in the Florida Bay, in about 9 feet of water. The main wreckage was located at 24°43.8N and 081°04.6W. The debris path was fairly compact. The wreckage debris path was oriented on a line that ran parallel to the shore. However, due to tide changes it could not be accurately determined the original debris path in relation to the main wreckage, which was located on a 320 degree magnetic heading and about 1.5 miles from the MTH.

Examination revealed that the airplane exhibited impact and crush damage to both wings, cabin, and fuselage. The airplane was segmented into numerous pieces. The right side stabilator was damaged in the aft and positive direction at an approximate 45-degree angle. The right wing main spar exhibited an approximate 50-degree twist. Impact and crush damage was consistent with the airplane impacting the water in a right wing low, nose down attitude. An outboard portion of the left wing, left wing aileron, and main cabin door were unable to be located. Examination of the engine revealed crankshaft and valve train continuity from the propeller flange to the rear accessory pad. Thumb compression was noted on all cylinders. A fluid, similar in smell as 100LL Aviation fuel was present in all fuel lines and in the fuel pump. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the base of the control column to the aileron bellcrank, located in each wing and the stabilator. One of the two rudder cables exhibited tensile overload; however, rudder control continuity was confirmed from the pilot's rudder pedals to the rudder.

The airplane's instrument panel was examined and the as found indications were noted. The airspeed indicator was in place and indicated about 100 knots. The attitude indicator was found tumbled; however, the instrument case exhibited minimal damage and the unit was disassembled. Examination of the gyro and gyro case revealed no score marks; however, due to salt water saturation, corrosion was evident throughout the instrument case. The turn and bank indicator indicated a right wing low attitude. The directional gyro indicated about 325 degrees and the heading preselect indicator was found selected to 015 degrees.

The engine remained attached to the airplane with electrical and fuel lines, cables, and was collocated with the main wreckage. The propeller was impact separated at the propeller flange, and was located about 300 feet from the main wreckage. All three propeller blades exhibited cord wise bending. The vacuum pump was removed and rotated by hand. Suction was noted and the vanes were audible noted as having unimpeded movement during hand rotation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on August 11, 2015, by the Office of the Medical Examiner, located in Marathon, Florida. The autopsy findings included "Multiple blunt force injuries." The report listed the specific injuries.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot, by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated no ethanol nor drugs were detected in urine.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Spatial Disorientation

The FAA's Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge contained guidance which stated that "under normal flight conditions, when there is a visual reference to the horizon and ground, the sensory system in the inner ear helps to identify the pitch, roll, and yaw movements of the airplane. When visual contact with the horizon is lost, the vestibular system becomes unreliable. Without visual references outside the airplane, there are many situations where combinations of normal motions and forces can create convincing illusions that are difficult to overcome."

The Handbook also advised, "unless a pilot has many hours of training in instrument flight, flight in reduced visibility or at night when the horizon is not visible should be avoided."

The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3) described some hazards associated with flying when visual references, such as the ground or horizon, are obscured. "The vestibular sense (motion sensing by the inner ear) in particular tends to confuse the pilot. Because of inertia, the sensory areas of the inner ear cannot detect slight changes in the attitude of the airplane, nor can they accurately sense attitude changes that occur at a uniform rate over a period of time. On the other hand, false sensations are often generated; leading the pilot to believe the attitude of the airplane has changed when in fact, it has not. These false sensations result in the pilot experiencing spatial disorientation."

FAA Publication "Spatial Disorientation Visual Illusions" (OK-11-1550) , states in part "false visual reference illusions may cause you to orient your aircraft in relation to a false horizon; these illusions are caused by flying over a banked cloud, night flying over featureless terrain with ground lights that are indistinguishable from a dark sky with stars, or night flying over a featureless terrain with a clearly defined pattern of ground lights and a dark starless sky." The publication further provides guidance on the prevention of spatial disorientation. One of the preventive measures was "When flying at night or in reduced visibility, use and rely on your flight instruments." It further states "if you experience a visual illusion during flight (most pilots do at one time or another), have confidence in your instruments and ignore all conflicting signals your body gives you. Accidents usually happen as a result of a pilot's indecision to rely on the instruments."

Although FAA Advisory Circular AC 60-4A, "Pilot's Spatial Disorientation," was canceled in May 2015, it provided credible information. The tests conducted with qualified instrument pilots indicated that it can take as long as 35 seconds to establish full control by instruments after a loss of visual reference of the earth's surface.

The FAA publication Medical Facts for Pilots (AM-400-03/1), described several vestibular illusions associated with the operation of aircraft in low visibility conditions. Somatogravic illusions, those involving the semicircular canals of the vestibular system, were generally placed into one of four categories, one of which was the "graveyard spiral." According to the text, the graveyard spiral, "…is associated with a return to level flight following an intentional or unintentional prolonged bank turn. For example, a pilot who enters a banking turn to the left will initially have a sensation of a turn in the same direction. If the left turn continues (~20 seconds or more), the pilot will experience the sensation that the airplane is no longer turning to the left. At this point, if the pilot attempts to level the wings this action will produce a sensation that the airplane is turning and banking in the opposite direction (to the right). If the pilot believes the illusion of a right turn (which can be very compelling), he/she will reenter the original left turn in an attempt to counteract the sensation of a right turn. Unfortunately, while this is happening, the airplane is still turning to the left and losing altitude.