Friday, January 22, 2016

Beech K35 Bonanza, N816R: Incident occurred January 22, 2016 near Steamboat Springs Airport (KSBS), Routt County, Colorado

Date: 22-JAN-16 
Time: 20:40:00Z
Regis#: N816R
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 35
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Denver FSDO-03
State: Colorado


Steamboat Springs — A woman walked away uninjured after the plane she was flying crashed near Steamboat Springs Airport. 

The crash occurred about 2:30 p.m. Friday in a meadow along Routt County Road 44 about one mile from Routt County Road 129. 

The pilot reported the plane lost power after taking off. At the crash scene north of the airport, it was visible where the plane brushed the snow and came to a stop about 50 yards away.

The pilot was able to shut off the fuel and hike through deep snow to meet airport workers, who gave her a ride back to the airport. There, she gave a statement to police.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine plane is a 1959 Beech K35 Bonanza registered to Mary Ashura-Smith.

The pilot did not want to discuss the incident with the media.

Airport manager Adam Kittinger confirmed the plane is based out of the Steamboat airport.

Kittinger was informing FAA and National Transportation Safety Board officials about the crash.

The last significant plane crash in Routt County occurred Jan. 25, 2015.

Mark Darling, of Eaton, was flying his Cessna 172F high-wing airplane alone from Baggs, Wyoming, to Greeley when he crashed on top of Green Creek between Sarvis Creek and Harrison Creek on Rabbit Ears Pass.

Darling said he was overcome with grief thinking about his son, Travis, who had died in a car crash two years before. He said he then wanted to die.

Before that, on Aug. 9, 2014, instructor William Earl Allen, 62, and his student, Terry Stewart, 60, were killed in a crash. Stewart was concluding a mountain flying training course with a five-leg, cross-country flight. The final leg of the flight was from Steamboat to Boulder.

Investigators determined the plane did not have enough altitude to navigate Rabbit Ears Pass.

Story and photo:

Laredo International Airport (KLRD) to receive $13.5 million in federal grants

Congressman Henry Cuellar, along with the City of Laredo and the Federal Aviation Administration, announced Friday $13.5 million in federal funds for improvements at the Laredo International Airport.

Congressman Henry Cuellar announced Friday two grants from the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program to the Laredo International Airport totaling $13.5 million.

The first grant is for $6 million and will be used to mitigate airport noise in the residential area adjacent to the airport by providing sound insulation for 60 residences in close vicinity to the airport. The FAA will also purchase 16 residences and acquire aviation easement of 50 residences.

The second grant is for $7.5 million and will be used for full reconstruction of an existing taxiway at the airport, which is over two decades old and poses safety concerns due to decay.

The City of Laredo will add $1.3 million in matching funds for a total investment of $14.8 million.

“In the last five years, aircraft operations have doubled, placing Laredo among the top 10 busiest federal contract tower airports. The increase in air traffic has caused noise concerns for neighboring residences, and these grants will fix many of those concerns,” Cuellar said. “The existing taxiway has also not kept up with the growth and expansion of the airport.

“These funds will allow for a complete reconstruction to be up to par with high demand. I thank Laredo International Airport Director Jose Flores, without whose advice and guidance this project would not have been possible.”

“This is great news for the City of Laredo and for the Laredo International Airport,” said City Manager Jesus M. Olivares. “We are excited to have the FAA here to consider the possibility of having a new air traffic control tower.

“The new tower will bring the tower into the 21st century, serve Laredo for the next 40 years, improve the working conditions for our air traffic controllers, and enhance aviation safety.”

Flores added: “Taxiway ‘G’ is the last remaining pavement section on the airfield needing reconstruction, pavement that dates back to the early 1940s. We thank and appreciate Congressman Cuellar’s support in making our airport a flagship world class airport.”

Kelvin L. Solco, regional administrator of FAA’s Southwest Region, Vaughn Turner, vice president of FAA’s technical operations, and Ignacio Flores, FAA airport southwest region manager, were hosted by Cuellar in Laredo, where they toured the current Laredo air traffic control tower, constructed by the U.S. Air Force in 1970, to take into consideration the possibility of constructing a new tower.

Now more than 40 years old, the tower suffers from a number of structural and other problems that inhibit operations and pose safety risks to air traffic employees, including:
  • Asbestos
  • No emergency escape exit
  • No space to make room for new and modern equipment and technology
  • No back-up power
  • Communication disruptions with aircraft
  • Inadequate air conditioning

The current traffic control tower is located along the flight line, which inhibits aviation development.

To help with this issue, Cuellar successfully included $10 million in additional funding over fiscal year 2015 in the new government funding bill to air traffic contract towers across the country. Air traffic contract towers are staffed by Federal Aviation Administration-certified air traffic controllers who work for private firms.

The additional $10 million in federal funds represents a total of $154.4 million. In addition, he included language encouraging the FAA to focus on improvements to towers that are more than 40 years old, such as the tower at the Laredo International Airport.

Laredo International Airport is home to the brand-new, state-of-the-art Bi-National Federal Inspection Services facility that allows Mexican-bound cargo to be pre-cleared on the U.S. side of the border. Laredo International Airport is among the top 50 airports in the country for cargo and is also the only airport on our southern border with U.S. customs availability 24/7/365.


Air show officials announce date change for summer show to August 5-7

Organizers of the Oregon International Air Show have changed the dates for this year's show to Aug. 5 to 7.

The date change was announced on Friday, Jan. 22. Officials said the change was to do a scheduling change for the Breitling Jet Team, the 2016 air show headline performers.

The Breitling team recently informed show officials that they have an engagement in Europe that prevents them from arriving in the U.S. in time for the originally scheduled show dates.

The show had originally been set for July 22 to 24.

“At our air show, just like at all shows across the U.S. and around the world, jet teams are the headliners — the stars of the show,” said Oregon International Air Show President Bill Braack. “They draw spectators and put on the biggest, awe-inspiring performances — just like Breitling Jet Team does. This schedule change gives our attendees the best show experience we can offer.”

Customers who have purchased tickets are being contacted by the air show to make arrangements for an exchange, or to receive a refund if unable to attend.

This year is Breitling's first-ever performance at the Oregon International Air Show. The team is known internationally for tight formation flying in seven black and gold Aero L-39 Albatross jets.

Breitling's first-ever tour of North America took place in 2015. This year is the conclusion of the team’s tour across the U.S. and Canada before it returns to Europe full-time at the end of the air show season.

“The Breitling’s performance is compelling and well choreographed and represents a unique opportunity for air show fans to see them before they head overseas,” Braack said.

The theme for 2016 show — “Heroes of the Pacific” — commemorates the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the show will feature a number of aircraft that were active in the Pacific Theatre during WWII.

The annual air show is held each summer at the Hillsboro Airport. 3355 NE Cornell Road.

Tickets for the air show are on sale at


One Allegiant Air plane had four emergency landings within six weeks

Allegiant Air Flight 815 had just departed North Carolina on Dec. 3 with 94 passengers bound for St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport when an alarming gray haze began to fill the cockpit and passenger cabin.

Pilots declared an emergency, telling the tower to notify fire rescue crews "to roll the trucks." The haze dissipated on landing at Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and the problem was traced to a malfunctioning air-conditioning system.

Mechanics knew the aircraft quite well: This was the fourth emergency landing by the same aircraft in little more than a month.

The emergency landings by the MD-88 — tail number 403NV — occurred from Oct. 25 to Dec. 3 on flights headed to Florida, all after reports of smoke or fumes in the aircraft. Some of the incidents may have been because of the same recurring problem, according to interviews and Federal Aviation Administration records.

The aircraft also made an emergency landing in August due to engine trouble that did not involve a report of smoke.

Industry veterans say such a high number of incidents for one aircraft in such a short period of time is exceptionally rare, and the incidents will undoubtedly raise renewed concern about Allegiant's maintenance operations.

During an Oct. 25 emergency landing on a flight departing Youngstown, Ohio for Sanford, outside Orlando, an FAA report filed by Allegiant noted, "Smoke was so thick that the flight attendants in the back of the airplane could not see the front."

John Cox, a St. Petersburg resident who is a former U.S. Airways pilot and a former safety official at the Air Line Pilots Association, said it is rare to see one plane make so many emergency landings.

"To have one aircraft experience a high number of smoke events, that is very, very unusual," Cox said. "I have seen smoke or fume events reoccur. But if they had repeated smoke events in a five or six week period, this would be very unusual and would be right at the edge of anything I've seen in my career."

Allegiant has maintained the Las Vegas-based airline has one of the best safety records in the industry. A spokeswoman with the airline said Friday that company officials could not comment on this story because they were busy dealing with a snow storm in the eastern United States.

Allegiant, a budget airline with a fleet of more than 80 aircraft, was responsible for about 95 percent of the record 1.6 million passengers who used the St. Pete-Clearwater airport last year, making a key player in the area's growing tourism industry.

Allegiant's chief operating officer Steve Harfst abruptly resigned a week ago after just 13 months on the job. Some analysts suggest the resignation was forced and is a result of highly publicized incidents involving Allegiant aircraft. The airline and Harfst will not comment on such speculation.

Those incidents include an additional five emergency landings by Allegiant aircraft during the last week of 2015.

Allegiant announced late Thursday that it was promoting its senior vice president of planning, Jude Bricker, to COO as Harfst's replacement.

Chris Moore, chairman of the Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition, discovered the four emergency landings for the one aircraft while taking reports from Allegiant crew members on behalf of the pilots' union, the Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224.

The Tampa Bay Times confirmed those four by examining "service difficulty reports," or SDRs, Allegiant filed with the FAA. And the newspaper discovered the August emergency in those records. It does not appear any passengers or crew were injured in the incidents.

Moore is compiling a report on the airline's maintenance issues for the Teamsters, which has been at odds with Allegiant management over bitter contract negotiations. The airline has blamed the union for raising unfounded safety concerns as a ploy in negotiations.

Moore said in an interview that the issues with the one aircraft raise serious questions on how well Allegiant maintains its fleet. Moore said the FAA has placed Allegiant under increased scrutiny due to these issues, though the agency won't confirm that.

"I'm sure the FAA is seeing what we are and asking, 'What's going on?'" Moore said.

He said he believed, though he had not been able to confirm, that the four emergencies may have involved a recurring problem that was not properly diagnosed or which recurred after inadequate repairs.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor declined to comment specifically about the aircraft with the multiple problems, though he said the FAA is investigating incidents reported in the media.

According to Moore and FAA records on the aircraft (all flights landed at the city from which they departed), these are the incidents:

•On Oct. 25, Allegiant Flight 607 departed Youngstown for Sanford when the crew smelled smoke at rotation, the moment when an aircraft begins to lift off the runway. Flight attendants then reported smoke coming from a fan that delivered air into the cabin from the plane's air system. Air-conditioning was turned off and the aircraft safely landed.

• On Oct. 30, Flight 730 had just departed Concord Regional Airport in North Carolina bound for Fort Lauderdale when flight attendants reported smoke in the cabin. Mechanics replaced the oil filter and an O-ring on an auxiliary power unit, and found a leak in the hydraulic system.

•On Nov. 15, shortly after Flight 715 departed Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport in Kentucky for Sanford a bathroom smoke detector alarm began sounding. The FAA report said "there was a haze in the cabin with a smoke smell." The problem was diagnosed as occurring in an air-conditioning system.

• On the Dec. 3 flight to St. Pete-Clearwater, the problem was again tied to the air-conditioning.

• On Aug. 17, the plane suffered engine difficulties at 16,000 feet and made an emergency landing. No report of smoke occurred on that flight, and records do not show where the plane landed, its destination nor city of departure.

FAA records also show the aircraft's crew on Dec. 15 experienced the smell of evaporating oil in the cockpit, but FAA records indicate the crew did not make an emergency landing for that event.

Cox said airlines usually will take an aircraft out of service after repeated problems to conduct a detailed examination. He said mechanics can sometimes fix a problem on an aircraft only to later discover the real issue has been missed.

Greg Marino is an aviation mechanic with more than three decades of experience who said he quit the airline's Sanford maintenance operation in October after just two weeks because of what he viewed as Allegiant's poor maintenance culture. Allegiant disputes his characterization.

Marino said when he worked at US Airways, repeat problems on an aircraft would be quick reason to ground it.

"We wouldn't have gotten three chances," Marino said, referring to the four emergency landings in a month. "We may have gotten two, meaning the airplane would have been grounded ... This is a clear indication of an experience level that is going to cause a big problem for Allegiant."

Original article can be found here:

Nearly 300,000 recreational drone owners in U.S. database -Federal Aviation Administration

Nearly 300,000 recreational drone owners have registered their unmanned aircraft in a new federal database intended to help address a surge of rogue drone flights near airports and public venues, U.S. regulators said on Friday.

The Federal Aviation Administration said 295,306 owners registered in the 30-day period after the registry was launched on Dec. 21 and obtained an FAA identification number that must be displayed on their aircraft.

It was not clear how many drones had been registered. The registration applies to drones that weigh between 0.55 pound (250 grams) and 55 pounds (25 kgs).

Experts have said 700,000 to 1 million unmanned aircraft were expected to be given as gifts in the United States last Christmas alone. People who operated their small unmanned aircraft before Dec. 21 must register by Feb. 19. 

Owners who registered during the first month had the $5 fee reimbursed.

"The registration numbers we’re seeing so far are very encouraging," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement.

Federal officials see online registration as a way to address the safety concerns that have arisen as a result of unauthorized drone flights near airports and crowded public venues across the country.

The current system is available only to owners who intend to use drones exclusively for recreational or hobby purposes. The FAA is also working to make the system available for non-model aircraft users including commercial operators by March 21.

Officials say the agency is also working with the private sector to streamline registration including through the use of new smart phone apps that could allow a manufacturer or retailer to register a drone automatically by scanning an identification code on the aircraft. 


Piper PA-31 Navajo, N997DN: Accident occurred January 22, 2016 near Denton Enterprise Airport (KDTO), Denton County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fort Worth, Texas AFW FSDO-19
Piper Aircraft; Florida 

Aviation Accident Final Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA102
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 22, 2016 in Denton, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/13/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA31, registration: N997DN
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

The commercial pilot reported that, during the postmaintenance test flight, the right engine surged and then behaved consistent with a fuel flow issue. The right engine subsequently lost power, and the pilot prepared to return to the airport. However, before the pilot could secure the right engine, the left engine started to surge and then lost power. The pilot conducted a forced landing to a field, during which both wings and the engine nacelles sustained substantial damage. 

Although a fuel smell was present on scene, there was no visual evidence of fuel in the fuel tanks or in the field. Only a quart of fuel was recovered from the left fuel tank. Further examination of the airframe and fuel system revealed that the fuel tanks were not compromised, and no mechanical anomalies with the airframe, engine, or the fuel system were found that would have precluded normal operation. 

The pilot reported that there should have been about 120 gallons of fuel on board at the time of departure. Additionally, a fuel receipt confirmed that 99.36 gallons of fuel had been added to the fuel tanks before a 36-minute maintenance engine test run conducted 3 days before the accident flight. No other flights were conducted between the test run and the accident flight, which the engine data monitor indicated was about 30 minutes long. 

Based upon calibrations set by the operator, the engine data showed that the engines consumed about 5.6 gallons of fuel during the test run and 19.2 gallons of fuel during the accident flight. Performance information from the manufacturer indicated that the engines should have burned between 10 and 18 gallons of fuel during the test run and between 27 and 50 gallons of fuel during the accident flight. Although it is possible the discrepancy between the recorded fuel consumption and the fuel consumption calculations was due to the operator setting the engine data monitor’s calibrations incorrectly, it could not be determined when or by whom the calibrations were set. The absence of fuel on-scene and the loss of engine power are consistent with fuel exhaustion; however, the investigation was unable to determine why there was no fuel on board at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

On January 22, 2016, about 1530 central standard time, a Piper PA-31 airplane, N997DN, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Denton, Texas. The commercial rated pilot received minor injuries. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local flight departed Denton Enterprise Airport (KDTO), Denton, Texas, about 1500.

According to the pilot, the accident flight was a routine maintenance flight following maintenance and a 2-year period where the airplane had not flown regularly.

Several days prior to the accident flight, the pilot conducted an extensive preflight of the airplane and supervised the fueling of the airplane. He stated that the inboard tanks were filled to 56 gallons and the outboard tanks had 10 gallons of fuel added . The nacelle tanks were empty. 

Before conducting a flight in the airplane, the pilot performed a maintenance test run of the engines. He stated that he started and shut down the engines on the inboard tanks and conducted the taxi and engine run-ups on the outboard tanks. He estimated that he ran the engines for about 30 minutes. Aside from issues with the fuel boost pumps and the left and right fuel flow indicators, he noted no anomalies with the airframe, engines, or related systems during the taxi and engine run-up.

The airplane sat for three days between the maintenance test run and the accident flight. During the preflight inspection he noted a fuel spot on the floor under the right main fuel tank sump. Further examination revealed that the plug was not seated correctly. He estimated that less than a cup of fuel was lost during that time. For the accident flight the pilot estimated the fuel on board at takeoff was 120 gallons – no additional fuel was added prior to the flight, nor did he visually verify the fuel quantity as no one had flown the airplane or ran the engines since his last engine run three days prior.

The run-up of both engines prior to the flight revealed no anomalies. The pilot departed with the fuel selected to the inboard tanks and then once at altitude switched to the outboard tanks. The fuel flow meters were now working and when he noted the right engine flow start to drop he switched back to the inboard tanks. He climbed to 1,000 feet, checked multiple systems and then conducted a low approach to Bishop Field. He climbed back up to 2,000 feet and was conducting the cruise checklist when the right engine surged. The pilot noted the sound and behavior consistent with no fuel/fuel flow. The pilot checked the fuel selector valves and trouble shot the engine surge without resolve.

The pilot obtained clearance to enter a downwind for runway 36 at DTO at which time the right engine lost power. Before the pilot could declare an emergency and secure the right engine the left engine surged and lost power. During the forced landing to the field both wings and engine nacelles were substantially damaged.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors who responded to the scene, they could smell fuel on scene but found no evidence of fuel. There was no fuel in the fuel tanks and there was no pooling of fuel outside of the airplane in the debris field or where the airplane came to rest. Only a quart of fuel was recovered from the left fuel tank by the airplane recovery team.

An examination of the airframe, wings, and fuel system was conducted under the auspices of the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, inspectors from the FAA, and an investigator from Piper Aircraft. The examination revealed that the fuel tanks and fuel system had not been compromised during the accident. No mechanical anomalies were noted with the engine, airframe, or airframe fuel system that would have precluded normal operation.

The airplane was equipped with a J.P. Instruments EDM-790 that had the capability to monitor and record exhaust gas temperature, cylinder head temperature, oil pressure and temperature, manifold pressure, outside air temperature, turbine inlet temperature, engine rpm, compressor discharge temperature, fuel flow, and battery voltage. The unit contained non-volatile memory for data storage of the recorded parameters.

The recorder was in good condition and data were extracted normally. The EDM contained 2.7 hours of data and 15 power cycles. Both the engine run and the accident flight were captured on the EDM. The engine run captured 36 minutes of engine data. The accident flight captured 30 minutes of data. Based upon the calibrations set by the operator, in the EDM, total fuel consumption for the engine run was 5.6 gallons and total fuel consumption for the accident flight was 19.2 gallons.

Performance data from the airplane flight manual indicate that fuel consumption (at high cruise) to be 54 gallons per hour (gph) for both engines, and 28 gph at maximum endurance. Using data from the pilot's operating manual and airplane flight manual, investigators estimated the fuel burn for the maintenance test run, 3 days prior to the accident flight, to be between 10 and 18 gallons. Further, investigators estimated fuel burn for the accident flight to be between 27 and 50 gallons. Fuel receipts confirmed the addition of 99.36 gallons of fuel, prior to the engine maintenance test run, on January 18, 2016.

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA102 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 22, 2016 in Denton, TX
Aircraft: PIPER PA31, registration: N997DN
Injuries: 1 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 22, 2016, about 1530 central standard time, a Piper PA-31 airplane, N997DN, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Denton, Texas. The pilot received minor injuries. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local flight departed Denton Enterprise Airport (KDTO), Denton, Texas, about 1500.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspectors who responded to the scene, the airplane had not flown for some time and the pilot was taking it on a routine flight following maintenance. During the flight the right engine surged several times before losing power. Shortly after the right engine lost power, the left engine surged and lost power. The wings, engine nacelles, and landing gear were substantially damaged during the forced landing to a field.  

An Aubrey pilot walked away from an emergency landing with only bumps and bruises Friday afternoon.

After experiencing engine trouble in the Piper PA-31 Navajo airplane he was flying, David Kinney landed the plane in a field next to George Owens Road on the south side of U.S. Highway 380, west of Denton. 

Kinney was making a routine maintenance flight and had taken off from Denton Enterprise Airport prior to the emergency.

Skid marks could be seen in the grass. The landing gear was not visible.

Department of Public Safety troopers, Denton County sheriff’s deputies and Krum emergency officials responded to the scene.

Kinney sustained minor injuries and was not transported to a hospital, according to DPS spokesman Lonny Haschel. He said because there was no one seriously hurt, no property damage and no fire, it was not a big incident to DPS, but added that the Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating.

FAA officials could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

Story and photo gallery:

After taking off from Denton Enterprise Airport and experiencing engine trouble, a pilot landed a Piper Navajo just yards away from U.S. Highway 380 west of Denton.

A small plane is down in west Denton County, according to sheriff's officials. 

Denton County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Sandi Brackeen said the aircraft went down off U.S. Highway 380 near the town of Krum at about 3:30 p.m. Friday.

The pilot was experiencing engine trouble and was forced to land, officials said.

The Krum Fire Department said the pilot landed in a field on the south side of 380, then bounced over the highway, while staying low enough to avoid hit power lines. The plane then came to a stop near the intersection of George Owens Road and 380.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

Story and photo:

Boeing 737-924ER (WL), N36444, United Airlines: Incident occurred January 22, 2016 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (KORD), Illinois

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A United plane slid off the runway at O'Hare International Airport upon landing. Some travelers were delayed when they missed connections but there are no injuries.

United Airlines says the Boeing 737 was carrying 179 passengers and six crew members from San Francisco to Chicago. Passengers said most of the window shades were down during landing and they didn't realize something was wrong until the pilot made an announcement.

"They didn't say anything before, it felt like a totally normal landing, and then after we landed they said, oh, we had some brake failure," said Kech Carera.

"I didn't know if it was the brakes or not, but it felt like - there were just a couple little bumps and that was it," said Todd White.

"It started out as a normal landing, plane touched down, he started to apply the brakes and it just started to skid out a little bit, and then we got to the end of the runway and he went to the side a little bit, you know, I think he did a good job," said Brian Clark.

"Everyone is fine and calm. I've flown 2 million miles and never seen this before," Dodge wrote.

Speaking with ABC7 Eyewitness News, Dodge said the landing was very smooth but upon touching down the plane simply did not slow. Instead it began sliding and continued off the runway.

Emergency crews brought stairs and the airport provided buses to bring passengers to the terminal.

For the Patel family, the young travelers found the entire ordeal to be quite an adventure.

"We were about to land at the airport and all of a sudden me and my dad hear a screeching that sound like the wheels were screeching underneath the seats," said Arjun Patel.

"Everyone is safe and sound and that's all that matters," said Bhumi Patel.

The winter storm bearing down on the East Coast is also causing some travel madness in the Midwest. O'Hare is reporting delays averaging 40 minutes due to weather on the East Coast, and over 200 cancellations. Midway International Airport is reporting a handful of delays and over 60 cancellations. Both planes and flight crews have had trouble arriving and departing on time.

There have also been last minute cancellations. One pair of travelers had planned on a one-day business trip from New Jersey to Chicago and now find themselves stuck here.

"The communication, in terms of updates, is still kind of lagging. So the best recommendations from airlines is that we should still come to the airport, stand on line, and wait for the next available opening for a flight. I feel like there's potentially more efficient ways to go about doing that," said Patrick Callahan.

Travelers at O'Hare said that despite the delays and cancellations they're glad to hear airlines are exercising caution considering the winter storm.

Story, video and photos:


A United Airlines flight landing at Chicago's O’Hare International Airport slid off the runway Friday afternoon, according to the Chicago Fire Department. 

Fire officials said the Boeing 737 plane skidded into the snow-covered grass while landing at the airport.

United Airlines confirmed United Flight 734 from San Francisco to Chicago "partially rolled" off the runway. No injuries were reported, authorities and the airline said. 

According to United spokesperson Charlie Hobart, 179 passengers and six crew members were onboard the flight.

The airline is using buses to bring customers to their gate and the aircraft will undergo "a full inspection," Hobart said. 

It's not clear what caused the skid, but snow was on the ground at the airport at the time of the incident. 

It's the second United Airlines flight to veer off the runway at O'Hare Airport in the last month. 

On Dec. 30, a United Airlines flight from Seattle skidded beyond the turning point toward its gate. 


Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College suspends composites program

Justin Balsness of Duluth cleans a piece of machinery that he is fixing in the composite class at WITC in Superior on Thursday morning. 

A course launched with Kestrel employees in mind is being shuttered by Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College of Superior.

School officials said low enrollment and lack of local employment opportunities led to suspension of the program.

"If we have no students coming in and no large employer on the back end, it creates a stranglehold," said WITC-Superior Administrator Bonny Copenhaver.

Instructor Dave Crockett said the program, the only one of its kind in the state, fills a growing industry need and attracts students from a wide radius. He called the suspension a "slap in Superior’s face."

WITC-Superior’s composite technology program was created with the help of $600,000 in state grant money. It opened its doors to 10 students in May of 2013. A year later, the program was restructured to offer a 1½-year technical degree program instead of just a two-year associate degree. The coursework was also retooled to move from a heavy emphasis on aviation to a well-rounded training that would prepare workers for jobs in other areas, including marine and wind turbine work. No enrollments were taken in the fall of 2014 to allow time to modify the curriculum, according to WITC President John Will. That move cost the campus $50,000 in grant funding, Copenhaver said.

The program currently has seven students, with a maximum capacity for 16 without adding an instructor. No more students will be accepted to the program and it will be shuttered when the last students graduate in 2017.

Ten of the program’s graduates are already placed and working, Crockett said, and most got job offers before they finished the course. Cirrus Aircraft has employed three of them.

"We could potentially hire up to five of these individuals a year," said Vance Okstad, director of organization development for Cirrus. "It’s a strong need for us." The aircraft manufacturer was in talks with the college to provide additional composites training for current employees. WITC offers a well-rounded course, Okstad said, and its graduates were able to walk directly onto the job. Their three WITC graduates are still doing work directly related to what they learned.

"I would love to see it continue on," said Okstad, who serves on the advisory board for the program. He said composite technology is a skill that will be needed in the future, but the course may be ahead of its time. A degree is not required currently for composites work, he said, and Cirrus does much of its composite training in-house.

"I’m sorry to see that they suspended the program," said Mark Ketterer, director of maintenance for AAR Aircraft Services in Duluth. The aircraft maintenance and repair facility has hired two of the WITC’s composites graduates. They came out well-trained and didn’t take long to get "up to speed."

"Their program was good when it started; it got better at the end," Ketterer said, when it expanded to include both fabrication and repair. "On the other hand, our need is not nearly as great as Cirrus or Kestrel. We could get one or two a year, that would satisfy our needs."

The composite technology course was created in response to the 2012 announcement by Kestrel Aircraft that Superior would be the production site for its all-composite, single-engine turboprop Kestrel 350. It was estimated that between 60 and 100 composite technicians would be needed, Crockett said. Currently, Kestrel’s Superior office employs about 30, most of them engineers. Whether more jobs will open is unknown.

"We’ve made no decision as to where we will finally build the Kestrel," said Alan Klapmeier, CEO of ONE Aviation, which builds the Eclipse 500 twin-engine jet and is developing the Kestrel. The business has had problems working with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

"Because the state of Wisconsin has not lived up to its end of the program, we feel it’s an open issue where we will build the plane," Klapmeier said.

The fact that Superior is still being considered as a site is due to the great support the company has had from both the city and Douglas County, he said.

The decision to suspend a program isn’t taken lightly, Copenhaver said, and other administrators weighed in. The assessment went through the president’s cabinet and was supported, according to Will.

"I would love for that program to stay; it’s a wonderful program," Copenhaver said. "They have done an amazing job. It’s just the dynamics that have happened in the community right now."

While it’s nice to see a cutting-edge program like composite technology at the college, she said, it can lead to a risk if the industry doesn’t keep up and there’s a gap.

Other WITC programs that have been suspended since she came to WITC-Superior three years ago include a bricklaying course in Rice Lake and a building performance program.

Programs are reviewed on an annual basis, Will said, often leading to modification. When one is suspended, there is a three-year window to restart it if circumstances change. In his seven years with WITC, first as vice president and then president, he has never seen a suspended program restart.

Crockett said the cost to start up the composite program again would be cost-prohibitive. He’d like to see it stay. The instructor has contacted local legislators, Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen and Will to express his concerns about the suspension.

"I think this program does a lot for Superior," Crockett said. It’s been written up in Aircraft Maintenance Technology magazine and prompted compliments from technical deans throughout the state. Clearwater Composites LLC in Duluth and Wipaire Inc. in St. Paul, Minn., which manufactures aircraft floats, have expressed an interest in hiring graduates from the class. It has untapped potential, from canoe and paddle making classes to providing workers for Boeing, Crockett said.

"It doesn’t need Kestrel to survive," he said.

Some WITC classes, like the marine repair course in Ashland, attract students from a great distance for jobs outside the area. That is an exception to technical college courses, Copenhaver said, not the rule. Their emphasis is on training students for local jobs.

"WITC, and tech colleges in general, does have a focus on local employers," Will said. "We are a public education institution that is primarily funded with state and local levy dollars. Matching our programming to available employment opportunities is an area of emphasis."

Original article can be found here:

Blaming Pilots: No More Easy Answers • National Transportation Safety Board

By Tim Maher and Brian Casey
Maher and Casey are lawyers with the firm of Barnes & Thornburg.  

When adding general aviation safety to its list of top priorities for 2011 the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) noted that accidents involving general aviation, or private planes, “are almost always a repeat of the circumstances of previous accidents.”

In the five decades since Congress created the NTSB to investigate accidents and make recommendations to prevent their recurrence, general aviation accidents have resulted in the deaths of more than 50,000 Americans — nine times more than airline crashes.

Despite this toll, NTSB’s last chairperson said that general aviation deaths are not numerous enough to warrant NTSB’s attention.

NTSB currently contends that it is not answerable in any court for its failure to investigate and make safety recommendations to prevent the same accident from happening time and again.

As reported in these pages, the system governing general aviation safety is broken.

It lacks oversight, accountability and resources, resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths and subjecting private pilots, their passengers – and everyone in their flight paths to undue risk.

General aviation should be as safe as commercial airline travel.

It could be if the agency charged with investigating, assessing and reporting on general aviation crashes, the NTSB, applied the same diligence and resources to general aviation accident investigations as it does to commercial aviation accidents.

Instead, in 86 percent of private plane crashes, the NTSB attributes the accident to pilot error. End of investigation.

Researchers note that blaming the pilot relieves the NTSB as well as the FAA, aircraft and engine manufacturers and airport operators from the time and expense of a thorough accident investigation that could reveal the need for systemic reform or the actual cause of the accident. Worse yet, NTSB claims its findings are not subject to review by any other authorities or by the courts.

This could all change if the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear a case we filed on behalf of an Indiana man named Yatish Joshi. Joshi’s daughter, Georgina, died in 2006 when the plane she was piloting crashed outside Bloomington, Indiana. As it almost always does, the NTSB determined that the accident, which also killed the four passengers aboard, was Georgina’s fault.

It’s an easy answer. Blaming pilots, who often aren’t alive to defend themselves, absolves everyone else – air-traffic controllers, regulators, plane and parts manufacturers – and allows the system to carry on without identifying or solving the underlying problems.

Critical deficiencies are thus perpetuated – and accidents continue to happen for the same reasons.

Pilots are people, and can make mistakes. But air traffic controllers are people, airplane designers and manufacturers are people and airplane maintenance workers are people, too.  Yet pilots are disproportionately blamed for airplane accidents.  Making matters worse, if not subject to review, the NTSB’s determinations serve as the final word on the subject – even if they’re wrong. And the truth is never known.

Unsatisfied with the NTSB’s findings about his daughter’s plane crash, Joshi conducted an independent investigation, hiring experts who pored over flight records, examined conditions and interviewed witnesses. They even recreated the flight. The experts found disturbing holes in the NTSB’s report. The agency’s investigators didn’t learn, for example, that the FAA had only one air traffic controller on duty the night of the crash even though FAA regulations required two, or that the controller had received only 10 minutes of final approach control training, or that the radar and weather reporting equipment used by the controller were not appropriate for the services being provided to Georgina. Further, the NTSB never discovered reports of another plane in the area. That plane, which was heard and seen by witnesses immediately prior to the accident, may have flown into Georgina’s path, forcing her to take evasive action – the likely cause of her crash. The NTSB also failed to discover the aircraft damage report prepared by its own investigator.  This report directly contradicts the NTSB’s Probable Cause finding in Georgina’s accident.  Yet, the NTSB continues to say its investigation and findings are complete, accurate and not subject to review.

This isn’t an isolated incident. Similar horrors happen routinely in a system that fails to hold anyone but pilots accountable, leaving safety mechanisms unregulated and often badly outdated. Deployment of the NEXT Gen air traffic control system is more than ten years behind schedule.  That system, which should have been in place by the time of Georgina’s accident, is able to track planes all the way down to the ground, unlike the current radar based system.  When Georgina crashed, the radar covering the Bloomington area could not see planes flying below 1,000 feet; the NEXT Gen technology would have answered many questions about Georgina’s accident, and might have prevented the crash. As a sad testament to the truth of NTSB’s statement that these accidents continue to happen for the same reasons, on April 7, 2015, a near-identical crash occurred in Bloomington, Illinois, killing 7 people.

The NTSB knows it has problems — 15 years ago it commissioned a report by the RAND Corporation that found NTSB lacked the funding, training and investigative prowess it needed to do its job effectively. And yet the agency, operating largely without oversight, has failed to address those shortcomings.

It’s time for the NTSB to be subject to the checks and balances that are faced by other government agencies – that are fundamental to American democracy. That’s why Joshi has taken his case all the way to the Supreme Court. If he’s heard there, it could go a long way toward making the NTSB more effective – and making the skies safer for us all.

Original article can be found here:

USA TODAY investigation: Lies and coverups mask roots of small-aircraft crashes 

NTSB Identification: CHI06FA117
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Thursday, April 20, 2006 in Bloomington, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/27/2007
Aircraft: Cessna U206G, registration: N120HS
Injuries: 5 Fatal.

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

The airplane crashed into trees about 1/2-mile from the approach end of runway 35 while the aircraft was conducting a precision instrument approach in night instrument weather. The flight's plotted radar data was consistent with an airplane that was being vectored for an instrument landing system (ILS) approach. The radar track depicted the aircraft flying above glide path and to the right of course until radar contact was lost at 2,000 feet at 2338:34 about two and a half miles from the approach end of the runway. About 2345, the Sheriff responded to telephone calls of a possible airplane crash. A witness described the airplane sounds as an engine acceleration, followed by a thud, and then no more engine sounds were heard. The airport's weather about the time of the accident was: Wind 230 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 1 statute mile; present weather mist; sky condition overcast 100 feet. The published decision height for the approach was 200 feet agl and one-half mile visibility. A post accident inspection of the ILS determined the ILS was operating normally. The tower did not record after hour radio transmissions. An on-scene examination of the aircraft wreckage did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies. A review of data from an engine monitor showed a reduction in fuel flow consistent with a descent followed by an increase in fuel flow consistent with a full power setting.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's continued descent below decision height and not maintaining adequate altitude/clearance from the trees while on approach. Factors were the the night lighting conditions, and the mist.


On April 20, 2006, about 2345 eastern daylight time, a Cessna U206G, N120HS, piloted by an instrument rated private pilot, was destroyed on impact with trees and terrain while on approach to runway 35 at the Monroe County Airport (BMG), near Bloomington, Indiana. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was on file and was activated. The pilot and four passengers sustained fatal injuries. The flight originated from the Purdue University Airport (LAF), near Lafayette, Indiana, about 2245.

The person representing N120HS contacted the Terre Haute, Indiana, federal contract facility automated flight service station (AFSS) to get a weather briefing about 2213. The AFSS briefer at position "PF-3" gave the following brief, in part, to the pilot:

2213:25 PF-3 terre haute flight service

2213:27 N120HS hi i'd like to get a weather briefing

2213:29 PF-3 yes ma'am

2213:30 N120HS um lafayette lima alpha foxtrot and bloomington bravo mike golf and any interesting weather that might be between them

2213:39 PF-3 okay uh what's the aircraft call sign you're using

2213:42 N120HS november one two zero hotel sierra

2213:45 PF-3 and what time are you leaving lafayette

2213:47 N120HS we will probably be leaving in about twenty minutes to half an hour

2213:58 PF-3 okay and is this a v f r flight or i f r

2214:02 N120HS for v f r

2214:03 PF-3 v f r only

2214:05 N120HS *(ho ho) wait i'm sorry go ahead

2214:08 PF-3 is that v f r only

2214:10 N120HS yes yes sir well depending on what the 
weather's like

2214:13 PF-3 okay well we do have an airmet for i f r for the southern portion of indiana now

0214:18 N120HS okay

0214:19 PF-3 and they're saying that that may continue the rest of the evening into early tomorrow morning and

2214:23 N120HS okay

2214:23 PF-3 looking at the bloomington weather they do have i f r ceilings eight hundred broken right now with visibility eight miles

2214:30 N120HS *(okay)

2214:30 PF-3 so i wouldn't recommend v f r 

2214:32 N120HS okay well

2214:33 PF-3 uh

2214:33 N120HS definitely not i'm sorry i got i looked at the *(tafs they) didn't predict that okay can i file an i f r flight plan with you

2214:39 PF-3 sure would you like me to continue with the rest of the weather and and all that

2214:42 N120HS yeah that would that would be great

2214:44 PF-3 okay uh that's the only airmet uh going down that way for you uh looks like a low pressure system we've got uh one in western kentucky tennessee another one's up around the chicago area *(it's a) 
stationary front running from that one across northern indiana and ohio and then uh high pressure over to our east precip uh nothing really along that route there is some in southeastern indiana but it shouldn't affect your flight at all

2215:08 N120HS *(okay)

2215:08 PF-3 at lafayette uh the winds are two eighty at four ten miles skies clear below twelve thousand sixteen and seven and two nine nine one that's an automated report en route looking at a few clouds at thirteen 
thousand with niner miles and then again in the bloomington area winds two forty at three eight miles ceiling eight hundred broken seventeen and sixteen and two nine nine four that's also an automated report at bloomington and i don't see any uh pilot reports right now along that route for you the forecast lafayette was saying the rest of the evening a few clouds at six thousand winds three ten at five en route uh calling for *(uh) it looks like three thousand scattered six to ten thousand broken to overcast they were saying occasional showers in central indiana til zero three hundred though there's nothing really showing except for a little northeast of indy and then uh for the bloomington area uh six hundred broken five thousand overcast visibility better than six winds one sixty at four now they were saying within an hour you might see six hundred scattered five in mist around bloomington four hun four thousand broken and winds one fifty at four but the airmet was calling for i f r to continue the rest of the night into early tomorrow

2216:26 N120HS boy am i glad i called you wow

2216:27 PF-3 and

2216:28 N120HS okay

2216:28 PF-3 and then winds aloft uh would you like three and six for those

2216:32 N120HS um just three please

2216:33 PF-3 three thousand you're looking at light and variable winds at three thousand

2216:37 N120HS okay great

2216:38 PF-3 and notams uh lafayette r c o one two two three five is out of service

2216:44 PF-3 and uh it says the class d surface area and uh tower only available through zero one hundred daily down at Bloomington uh showing tower and class d surface area available through zero one thirty daily and 
three five pilot controlled lighting is out of service at bloomington indiana and otherwise en route i don't see anything else en route for you notam d wise as far as t f rs no unpublished t f rs along that route at this time

2217:15 N120HS *(great)

2217:15 PF-3 *(we'd) appreciate uh pilot reports flight watch is shut down for the evening but any any flight service frequencies along the route for you would you like to go ahead and file then

2217:24 N120HS yes sir

2217:25 PF-3 okay i'm ready to copy

2217:26 N120HS (unintelligible) november one two zero hotel sierra it's a cessna two oh six slash alpha airspeed a hundred and a hundred and thirty knots flying at three thousand feet departing lafayette lima alpha foxtrot lafayette direct bloomington indiana bravo mike golf five on board three hours of fuel the aircraft is based in south bend pilots name ... and aircraft is red white and blue 

2218:12 PF-3 (unintelligible) uh what's your time en route from lafayette to bloomington

2218:15 N120HS time on route forty minutes

2218:19 PF-3 and you say you're leaving in just a few minutes i put that out for zero two thirty that's on the half hour

2218:23 N120HS *(perfect)

The transcript of the weather briefing showed that the pilot did not give an alternate airport to the briefer when the flight plan was filed. The briefer did not ask for an alternate airport and was not required to ask for one.

About 2319, the pilot checked on with the Air Route Traffic Control Center controller working the Shelbyville, Indiana, sector (SHB R). The transcript of their transmissions, in part, stated:

2319:57 N120HS indy center november one two zero hotel sierra is with you at five thousand

2320:01 SHB R november one two zero hotel sierra indianapolis center roger how do you hear center

2320:04 N120HS ah loud and clear

2320:05 SHB R okay and ah what type of approach are you going to shoot into bloomington this morning or this evening

2320:11 N120HS we'd like to go for a runway three five six ah i l s

2320:14 SHB R i l s three five okay you can expect that ah one two zero hotel sierra do you have the ah asos weather

2320:19 N120HS yes sir

2320:20 SHB R all right

2323:11 SHB R cessna one two zero hotel sierra you're one two miles north of bloomington cross bloomington at or above two thousand six hundred cleared for the i l s runway three five approach report procedure turn inbound

2323:23 N120HS oh any way we can have vectors to the---ah final course

2323:26 SHB R not a problem at all ma'am what's your heading

2323:30 N120HS one seven zero

2323:32 SHB R okay turn ah right heading of ah one nine zero it'll be a vector for a left down wind entry for i l s three five straight in

2323:39 N120HS one niner zero for a---right down wind entry ah for three five zero hotel sierra

2323:43 SHB R yes ma'am and maintain five thousand

2323:46 N120HS maintain five thousand

2328:35 SHB R cessna one two zero hotel turn left heading one eight zero

2328:39 N120HS left heading one eight zero

2333:03 SHB R cessna one two zero hotel sierra descend at pilot's discretion maintain four thousand

2333:08 N120HS descend and maintain four thousand for zero hotel sierra

2333:13 SHB R i am going to take you about two miles outside of claye if that's okay with you ma'am

2333: 18 N120HS that's great

2333:50 SHB R cessna one two zero hotel sierra turn left heading zero eight zero

2333:53 N120HS left heading zero eight zero

2334:36 SHB R cessna one two zero hotel sierra three and a half miles south of claye turn left heading zero two zero maintain two thousand six hundred until established on the localizer you're cleared straight in i l s runway three five approach

2334:48 N120HS turn left heading zero two zero---cleared for the approach maintain twenty six hundred til ah established zero hotel sierra

2336:15 SHB R cessna one two zero hotel sierra see you joining up on the localizer now radar service is terminated change to advisory tower frequency of one two eight point zero two is approved---and i'll need you to 
cancel---with ah terre haute tower on that frequency one two eight point zero two they monitor that frequency and they'll relay for ya

2336:35 N120HS radar service terminated and cancel with terre haute on one two eight point zero two thanks (unintelligible) zero hotel sierra

2336:40 SHB R and you can change to that frequency now you have a good night

2336:43 N120HS thanks

A Continuous Data Recording (CDR) airplane radar track data file was obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in reference to the accident flight. The airplane's radar returns along with their respective altitudes and times were plotted. The plotted data was consistent with an airplane that was being vectored for an instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway (rwy) 35. The plot showed the airplane at about 5,000 feet on a downwind. At 2334:30, the return showed the airplane was about 4,500 feet on base about ten miles from the approach end of runway 35. The airplane's return at 2337 was right of and approaching the outer marker CLAYE at an altitude of 3,300 feet. About 2337, the pilot made an advisory radio call on the Hulman Approach control frequency for BMG (128.025) that the flight was six miles south of BMG and inbound for runway 35. The last plotted return showed the airplane at 2,000 feet at 2338:34 about two and a half miles from the approach end of runway 35. About 2343, the controller from the Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field air traffic control tower, near Terre Haute, Indiana, who was working the approach frequency, advised the flight that the BMG common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) was 120.77 and the flight responded with "Thank you sir." No further communication was recorded with the accident flight. That plotted chart is appended to the docket material associated with this case.

About 2345, the Monroe County Sheriff responded to telephone calls of a possible airplane crash. About 0400, the wreckage was located in a wooded area about one-half mile from the approach end of runway 35. 

Witnesses in the area stated that they were awakened by a low flying aircraft. A witness said that the airplane noise was like a roar. Another described it as an engine acceleration. A thud was heard and no more engine sounds were heard.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with single-engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. The airplane operator reported that the pilot had completed a flight review or equivalent on July 3, 2005. It was further reported that the pilot had accumulated 379.1 hours of total flight time, 24.5 hours of actual instrument time, 51.1 hours of simulated instrument time, 30.4 hours of total flight time in the previous 90 days, 18.0 hours of total flight time in the previous 30 days, and 1.8 hours of total flight time in the previous 24 hours. 

She held a FAA third-class medical certificate issued on August 19, 2003, with a limitation for corrective lenses. 


N120HS, a Cessna U206G, Stationair 6, serial number U20604728, was a six-place, single engine, high-wing, all-metal airplane of semimonocoque construction. The wings were externally braced and each wing contained a standard integral 46-gallon fuel tank. The airplane was powered by a six-cylinder, horizontally opposed, air cooled, fuel injected, marked as a Continental IO-520-F (17) engine, with serial number 812264-R. The engine was rated at 300 horsepower for five minutes and 285 horsepower continuously. Maintenance records showed that the airplane's propeller was a three-bladed McCauley D3A34C404B model, hub serial number 785309. The airplane was issued a standard airworthiness certificate and was certified for normal category operations.

Maintenance records show that the last annual inspection was performed on June 7, 2005, and that the airplane had accumulated 2,125.7 hours at the time of that inspection. An entry in the records showed that the static system was inspected in accordance with Part 91.411 and 91.413 requirements on May 19, 2005.

The airplane was equipped with a J.P. Instruments Engine Data Management (EDM) 700 system. According to manufacturer's data, the EDM will monitor up to twenty-four critical parameters in your engine, four times a second, with a linearized thermocouple accuracy of better than 0.1 percent or 2 degrees F, has a user selectable index rate, fast response probes, non-volatile long term memory, records and stores data up to 30 hours, and has post-flight data retrieval capabilities.


At 2340, the recorded weather at BMG was: Wind 230 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 1 statute mile; present weather mist; sky condition overcast 100 feet; temperature 17 degrees C; dew point 16 degrees C; altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury.


There were eight non-precision instrument approaches and one precision approach available at the airport.

The published inbound course for BMG's ILS RWY 35 approach was 354 degrees magnetic, with the published decision height (DH) of 1,045 feet msl. The crossing altitude for the final approach fix (CLAYE) was 2,533 feet msl. The distance between CLAYE and the missed approach point was 5.1 nautical miles (nm). The airport elevation was 846 feet msl. 

The published weather minimums for the ILS RWY 35 approach were a 200-foot ceiling and one-half mile visibility for category A, B, C, and D aircraft. 

On April 21, 2006 the FAA conducted a post aircraft accident technical inspection and found the ILS system was operating normally.


BMG had two asphalt-surfaced runways, 17/35 and 6/24. Runway 17/35 was 6,500 feet long and 150 feet wide. Runway 35 was equipped with a medium intensity approach lighting system with runway alignment indicator lights (MALSR) and high intensity runway lights (HIRL). Runways 6,17, and 24 were equipped with visual approach slope indicators (VASI) located on the left side of their respective runways.

The airport was serviced by an Air Traffic Control tower. The tower was attended from 0630 - 2130 local. After hour local traffic communications were accomplished via the published airport CTAF 120.775 megahertz (MHz). The tower did not record the CTAF transmissions made after hours. Indianapolis Approach provided approach/departure control services for the airport.

The pilot controlled lighting function of the approach lights was not operative. The approach lights were turned on before the tower was closed.


The airplane came to rest inverted on an approximate 180 degree magnetic heading. Broken and linearly separated tree branches were observed. A tree on a 230 degree magnetic heading from the wreckage and about 6 feet from the wreckage contained embedded aluminum colored metal consistent with the nose wheel rim. The engine was found about three feet below the surface. The propeller hub remained attached to the engine crankshaft propeller flange. The propeller blades separated from their hub. One blade exhibited forward bending and leading edge deformation. All of the blades exhibited chordwise abrasion. The wings were detached from the fuselage. The outboard section of the left wing had separated from the inboard section. The rudder was detached from the empennage and its control cables remained attached.

An on-scene examination of the wreckage was conducted. Flight control cables were traced. All breaks in cables were consistent with overload. Flight control continuity was established from the cabin area to all flight control surfaces. The engine's control cables were traced from the cabin to the engine and engine control continuity was established. A blue liquid consistent with 100 low lead aviation gasoline was observed in the left tank.

The wreckage was relocated for a detailed examination and wreckage layout. The right engine driven vacuum pump was separated from the accessory case. The pump's drive coupler was not recovered. The right vacuum pump was rotated by hand and an inspection revealed that its rotor and vanes were intact. The left pump was attached to the accessory case. The pump was crushed and an inspection revealed its rotor was fragmented. The sparkplugs were removed and no anomalies were detected. The engine was rotated by hand and a thumb compression was observed at all cylinders. The right magneto was crushed, deformed, and did not produce any spark when rotated by hand. The left magneto produced spark at all leads when rotated by hand. The engine driven fuel pump's coupler was intact. A blue liquid consistent with 100 low lead aviation gasoline was found in the fuel line from the engine driven fuel pump to the manifold valve. The attitude indicator and horizontal situation indicator rotors exhibited rotational scoring. The rotor housings exhibited witness marks consistent with contact with their rotors. The altimeter's Kollsman window indicated 29.91. The airplane's engine monitor was crushed. The on-scene investigation did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Monroe County Coroner's Office on April 22, 2006.

The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report. The report was negative for the tests performed.


The engine monitor was examined at its manufacturer. The unit and its circuit board were crushed. The data memory chip was removed from its circuit board and installed on a serviceable circuit board. The accident flight's data was downloaded. The downloaded data was graphed. The end of the graph showed a reduction in fuel flow consistent with a descent followed by an increase in fuel flow consistent with a full power setting and the data stopped at that point. The graph of the engine monitor's data is appended to the docket material associated with this investigation.


Federal Aviation Regulation Part 91.169 IFR flight plan: information required, in part, stated:

(a) Information required. Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, each person filing an IFR flight plan shall include in it the following information:

(1) Information required under Sec. 91.153(a).
(2) An alternate airport, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section.
(b) Exceptions to applicability of paragraph (a)(2) of this section. 
Paragraph (a)(2) of this section does not apply if part 97 of this chapter prescribes a standard instrument approach procedure for the first airport of intended landing and, for at least 1 hour before and 1 hour after the estimated time of arrival, the weather reports or forecasts, or any combination of them indicate--
(1) The ceiling will be at least 2,000 feet above the airport elevation; and
(2) The visibility will be at least 3 statute miles.
(c) IFR alternate airport weather minimums. Unless otherwise 
authorized by the Administrator, no person may include an alternate airport in an IFR flight plan unless current weather forecasts indicate that, at the estimated time of arrival at the alternate airport, the ceiling 
and visibility at that airport will be at or above the following alternate airport weather minimums:
(1) If an instrument approach procedure has been published in part 97 of this chapter for that airport, the alternate airport minimums specified in that procedure or, if none are so specified, the following minimums:
(i) Precision approach procedure: Ceiling 600 feet and visibility 2 statute miles.
(ii) Nonprecision approach procedure: Ceiling 800 feet and visibility 2 statute miles.
(2) If no instrument approach procedure has been published in part 97 of this chapter for that airport, the ceiling and visibility minimums are those allowing descent from the MEA, approach, and landing under basic VFR.

The operator's safety recommendation, in part stated:

Even if a tower is closed, as it was in this case, there should be an automatic recording of all pilot transmissions on the common frequency. Such a recording would make available vital information in the case of a fatal accident [for example] did the pilot make a distress call? Does the pilot's voice indicate that they are under duress? Was it the pilot's intention to do a missed approach? Was there anything that may have interfered with the pilot's conduct of the flight? Did the pilot make any announcement indicating what problem they were facing? Was there any other aircraft in the immediate vicinity? The parties to the investigation included the FAA, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Teledyne Continental Motors.  The aircraft wreckage was released to a representative of the insurance company.


NTSB Identification: CEN15FA190
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 07, 2015 in Bloomington, IL
Aircraft: CESSNA 414A, registration: N789UP
Injuries: 7 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 April 7, 2015, about 0006 central daylight time (all referenced times will reflect central daylight time), a Cessna model 414A twin-engine airplane, N789UP, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain following a loss of control during an instrument approach to Central Illinois Regional Airport (BMI), Bloomington, Illinois. The airline transport pilot and six passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was owned by and registered to Make It Happen Aviation, LLC, and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 while on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that departed Indianapolis International Airport (IND), Indianapolis, Indiana, at 2307 central daylight time.

According to preliminary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control (ATC) data, after departure the flight proceeded direct to BMI and climbed to a final cruise altitude of 8,000 feet mean sea level (msl). According to radar data, at 2344:38 (hhmm:ss), about 42 nautical miles (nm) south-southeast of BMI, the flight began a cruise descent to 4,000 feet msl. At 2352:06, the pilot established contact with Peoria Terminal Radar Approach Control, reported being level at 4,000 feet mean sea level (msl), and requested the Instrument Landing System (ILS) Runway 20 instrument approach into BMI. According to radar data, the flight was located about 21 nm south-southeast of BMI and was established on a direct course to BMI at 4,000 feet msl. The approach controller told the pilot to expect radar vectors for the ILS Runway 20 approach. At 2354:18, the approach controller told the pilot to make a right turn to a 330 degree heading. The pilot acknowledged the heading change. At 2359:16, the approach controller cleared the flight to descend to maintain 2,500 feet msl. At 2359:20, the pilot acknowledged the descent clearance.

At 0000:01, the approach controller told the pilot to turn left to a 290 heading. The pilot acknowledged the heading change. At 0000:39, the approach controller told the pilot that the flight was 5 nm from EGROW intersection, cleared the flight for the ILS Runway 20 instrument approach, issued a heading change to 230 degrees to intercept the final approach course, and told the pilot to maintain 2,500 feet until established on the inbound course. The pilot correctly read-back the instrument approach clearance, the heading to intercept the localizer, and the altitude restriction.

According to radar data, at 0001:26, the flight crossed through the final approach course while on the assigned 230 degree heading before it turned to a southerly heading. The plotted radar data showed the flight made course corrections on both sides of the localizer centerline as it proceeded inbound toward EGROW. At 0001:47, the approach controller told the pilot to cancel his IFR flight plan on the approach control radio frequency, that radar services were terminated, and authorized a change to the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). According to radar data, the flight was 3.4 nm outside of EGROW, established inbound on the localizer, at 2,400 feet msl. At 0002:00, the pilot transmitted over the unmonitored CTAF, "twin Cessna seven eight nine uniform pop is coming up on EGROW, ILS Runway 20, full stop." No additional transmissions from the pilot were recorded on the CTAF or by Peoria Approach Control.

According to radar data, at 0003:12, the flight crossed over the locator outer marker (EGROW) at 2,100 feet msl. The flight continued to descend while tracking the localizer toward the runway. At 0003:46, the airplane descended below available radar coverage at 1,500 feet msl. The flight was about 3.5 nm from the end of the runway when it descended below radar coverage. Subsequently, at 0004:34, radar coverage was reestablished with the flight about 1.7 nm north of the runway threshold at 1,400 feet msl. The plotted radar data showed that, between 0004:34 and 0005:08, the flight climbed from 1,400 feet msl to 2,000 feet msl while maintaining a southerly course. At 0005:08, the flight began a descending left turn to an easterly course. The airplane continued to descend on the easterly course until reaching 1,500 feet msl at 0005:27. The airplane then began a climb while maintaining an easterly course. At 0005:42, the airplane had flown 0.75 nm east of the localizer centerline and had climbed to 2,000 feet. At 0005:47, the flight descended below available radar coverage at 1,800 feet msl. Subsequently, at 0006:11, radar coverage was reestablished at 1,600 feet msl about 0.7 nm southeast of the previous radar return. The next two radar returns, recorded at 0006:16 and 0006:20, were at 1,900 feet msl and were consistent with the airplane continuing on an easterly course. The final radar return was recorded at 0006:25 at 1,600 feet msl about 2 nm east-northeast of the runway 20 threshold.

At 0005, the BMI automated surface observing system reported: wind 060 degrees at 6 knots, an overcast ceiling at 200 feet above ground level (agl), 1/2 mile surface visibility with light rain and fog, temperature 13 degrees Celsius, dew point 13 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches of mercury.

Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office: FAA Springfield FSDO-19

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage joined by Coroner Kathleen Davis as he reads a statement to reporters.