Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Military plane latest aircraft hit by laser over New Jersey



JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST - The FAA is investigating after a military KC-10 refueling jet was hit by a laser Tuesday while flying a training mission over the Jersey shore, officials said.

The flight crew reported a green laser illuminated the plane at 10:20 p.m. at an altitude of 4,000 feet in the Chatsworth area of Lacey Township, Ocean County, FAA spokesman Jim Peters said. The FAA notified the Lacey police department.

The KC-10 was from the 514th Air Mobility Wing, a reservist refueling wing operating from the Joint Base, said wing spokeswoman Master Sgt. Donna Jeffries.

Jeffries said the crew reported a "momentary flash" and was able to avert their eyes.

While a potentially dangerous situation, this event turned out to be a minor incident and the massive tanker jet returned safely to the base, she said. The KC-10 was about 15 miles away when the laser illumination occurred, Jeffries said.

Laser incidents are rare with military aircraft, she said. In the past five years, she said only one other incident has occurred with the wing, Jeffries said.

In July, a dozen aircraft over New Jersey skies reported dangerous laser beams crossing their paths in a single night. A Coast Guard aircraft over Ocean City, Cape May County was among those affected.

Shining a laser into an aircraft cockpit is a federal crime with potential jail time and fines.

Nearly 3,900 laser-aircraft incidents were reported nationwide in 2014, up from roughly 2,800 in 2010, according to FAA data.

Original article can be found here: http://www.nj.com

Victim of alleged pilot sex assault was fired with cause, WestJet claims

A former WestJet flight attendant who said she was fired for making waves after being sexually assaulted by a pilot was actually let go for performance issues, according to the airline.

WestJet has filed a statement of defence in response to Mandalena Lewis’s lawsuit that outlines eight disciplinary actions allegedly brought against her between 2008 and 2014.

Issues cited include missed shifts and one incident where a captain accused her and other attendants of drinking alcohol before a flight, resulting in its cancellation.

The airline said Lewis was ultimately fired in January 2016 after she sent an email to her superiors that contained an expletive.

“Lewis’s grossly insubordinate and insolent email, combined with Lewis’s extensive disciplinary record, warranted the termination of Lewis’s employment for just cause,” WestJet’s claim reads.

In her lawsuit, Lewis alleges she was on short-term disability leave for growing anxiety relating to her sexual assault and the airline’s response when she was let go.

She said her email was a frustrated demand for answers, which she sent after repeatedly asking WestJet for files outlining what investigation, if any, had been undertaken in response to her allegations against the pilot.

WestJet denies knowing the request had to do with that, claiming Lewis only requested her own employment file and “at no time” indicated it had to do with her complaint.

Her email, according to WestJet, read: “Where the fuck is my usb card with my file on it. It has been 90 days since I requested them. Fed ex it asap.”

Lewis claims her assault took place during a Hawaiian layover in January 2010, when a pilot, identified only as “Pilot M.” in her suit, dragged her onto a bed and groped her after they had been drinking in his hotel room.

 Several other women have recently raised allegations against the same man.

Her lawsuit accuses the airline of failing to properly investigate what happened, and even altering Pilot M.’s flying schedule so he could avoid prosecution in the state.

CTV News has confirmed that Maui prosecutors are still waiting to serve the pilot with a court summons.

In WestJet’s statement of defence, the airline said it “immediately assisted Lewis upon her return home from Maui by removing her from the rest of her scheduled shift, offering her support, and encouraging her to report the allegations to the Maui police.”

It added that a full investigation was conducted, but couldn’t determine Pilot M. had committed an assault.

WestJet said the investigation did, however, find the pilot had violated its standards of conduct, which bars excessive drinking and fraternizing with flight attendants, and he was suspended.

He was further disciplined by being removed from the Extended-Range Twin-Engine Operations, or ETOPS, which allows pilots to fly international routes, according to the airline.

Pilot M. was eventually re-admitted to ETOPS, WestJet added, and has since flown to Maui.

The airline has asked that Lewis’s claim be dismissed and that it be awarded costs.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court.

Since CTV News broke the story about Lewis’s allegations, more than a dozen other WestJet employees have come forward with claims of sexual assault and harassment, including some that are against Pilot M.

WestJet said it has heard from several workers who have raised new allegations and the company has hired Ernst & Young to investigate.  

http://bc.ctvnews.ca

Mandalena Lewis claims she was sexually assaulted by a WestJet pilot in January 2010, while she working as a flight attendant for the airline. 



A former WestJet flight attendant who claims she was sexually assaulted by a pilot has launched a lawsuit alleging the airline failed to properly investigate what happened.

Vancouver resident Mandalena Lewis, who agreed to have her name publicized in the interest of sharing her story, said the assault took place while she was on a layover at a Hawaiian hotel in January 2010.

According to her civil claim, which was filed in B.C. Supreme Court this week, she met a WestJet pilot identified only as “Pilot M” in his room, where he dragged her onto a bed and proceeded to kiss and grope her against her will.

"She resisted physically, yelling that he stop," her claim reads. "Pilot M did not stop but rather continued to grope and attempt to kiss her.”

Lewis said she was eventually able to fight him off and leave.

Her claim alleges she reported the incident to WestJet shortly after, but the airline “failed to adequately investigate” her allegations.

“All that WestJet did was structure [her] work schedule so that she did not have to work with the pilot,” it reads.

“She was told to keep quiet about the incident notwithstanding that other female flight attendants were working under the pilot.”

Lewis said she was even more distressed after talking to another flight attendant, who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by the same pilot two years earlier.

Her lawsuit alleges that “WestJet knew at least by 2008 that the pilot was a danger to other employees and WestJet had failed to remove him from the workplace.”

She said she demanded WestJet explain what investigation, if any, had been undertaken, but was left waiting for a response. Lewis later went on short-term disability leave for growing anxiety, according to her suit, and was eventually fired after emailing the company to express her frustration at the lack of answers.

Her suit alleges the airline’s conduct was negligent and breached her employment contract, and that her firing was a “retaliation.”

WestJet has yet to file a statement of defence in the case, but told CTV News on Wednesday that it takes the safety of its employees seriously.

“WestJet does not comment on ongoing legal proceedings but confirms it will file a statement of defense in which it will vigorously defend the allegations contained in the claim,” a spokesperson said in an email.

“WestJet further confirms its commitment to maintaining a safe and harassment free environment for its employees and guests and takes its obligations in this respect with the utmost seriousness.”

None of the claims against the airline have been proven in court.  

Lewis's allegations were investigated by police in Hawaii; a Maui prosecutor confirmed to CTV News that a WestJet pilot was charged in the state in 2010.

Original article can be found here:  http://bc.ctvnews.ca

Frontier Airlines applies for Philadelphia-to-Cuba route



Frontier Airlines said Thursday it has applied to the U.S. Transportation Department to begin a once-a-week nonstop flight between Philadelphia and Varadero, Cuba. Frontier, which has been expanding at Philadelphia International Airport, also proposed a one-stop flight in Miami from Philadelphia to both Santa Clara and Camaguey, Cuba, using 180-seat Airbus A320 aircraft.

Frontier will fly this summer to 20 destinations from Philadelphia, effective June 1.

American Airlines, which has a hub and 76 percent of the flights in Philadelphia, did not apply for direct Cuba passenger flights from Philadelphia. American instead chose its hubs in Miami, Dallas Fort Worth, Charlotte, Los Angeles, and Chicago to begin new nonstop Cuba scheduled service.

Original article can be found here:   http://www.philly.com

Editorial: New life at Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field (KHUF)

Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field is a community asset worth nurturing. Sizable public investments have been made at the facility through the years, and significant upgrades have allowed it to remain a viable centerpiece for economic development in the region.

It hasn’t been easy, of course. Once upon a time, the airport bustled with activity as passenger planes flew in and out several times a day, an air-freight operation made it a shipping hub, and the 181st Fighter Wing and its fleet of F-16s provided flash and fanfare. Times changed, however, and usage decreased through the years while airport officials tried to find new ways to stimulate activity.

Despite long-standing challenges, local officials are staying focused on the future and working on making the airport better and more productive for the community and its taxpayers.

Last week, airport officials unveiled improvement plans they hope will revitalize interest and usage of airport facilities. Included in the plan is an exterior upgrade to a terminal building, conversion of a runway into a taxiway that will allow the addition of more hangars and business development, and the addition of a non-scheduled public charter passenger service.

Each element to the plan is important, but the runway renovation and conversion holds great potential for business development on site. “Our ultimate goal is we are looking for new industry,” said Jeff Hauser, the airport’s executive director.

The more than $3.8 million runway project will be done in phases over the next three years and paid for mostly by the Federal Aviation Administration.

We applaud airport officials and the board for continuing efforts to make the facility viable for aviation and business development. The airport is a resource that requires ongoing attention and support.

Original article can be found here: http://www.tribstar.com/opinion/editorials

American Airlines applies to start nonstop Charlotte-Cuba flights



American Airlines applied Wednesday for permission to fly nonstop from Charlotte to Havana, in a landmark move as air carriers and the U.S. government look to reestablish ties with Cuba.

American wants to fly once a day year-round from Charlotte, its second-busiest hub, where American operates about 90 percent of daily flights. The carrier also applied for 10 daily flights to Havana from Miami, its primary gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as once daily from Dallas/Fort Worth and weekly from Los Angeles and Chicago.

Charlotte’s flight is ranked eighth on the priority list of routes that American wants to fly to Cuba, behind seven of the Miami flights.

“American’s proposed service – from Miami and four other hubs – will provide a strong foundation for the sustained future growth of commercial and cultural ties between the U.S. and Cuba,” American chief executive Doug Parker said in a statement.

All flights now operating between the U.S. and Cuba are charters. The Department of Transportation – headed by former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx – will review the applications from American and other carriers and decide which to grant.

The other airlines applying for Cuba flights, originating from various U.S. cities, include Delta, United, JetBlue and Southwest. Scheduled flights could begin in the fall.

In its application, American said its Charlotte service would complement its Miami routes, offering 34 destinations for connecting passengers in Charlotte not offered through the Miami hub. A flight from Charlotte to Havana would also give connecting passengers from other cities another option, since many of the flights from Miami are expected to be filled by local demand.

The proposed Charlotte-Havana flight would take about 2  1/2 hours and cover 847 miles, according to American’s application. It would be on an Airbus A319, a jet that seats 144 passengers total, with eight in business class.

President Barack Obama has led an effort to normalize relations, commerce and travel between the U.S. and Cuba. The U.S. has blacklisted Cuba with a commercial embargo and travel restrictions for more than five decades, since the communist regime came to power under Fidel Castro.

The Castro regime remains in place, under President Raul Castro, but relations have warmed up sharply in the past year, despite continuing opposition in the U.S. led by congressional Republicans. Obama plans to visit Cuba this month, the first such trip by a sitting U.S. president in more than 80 years.

Foxx, the transportation secretary, signed an agreement with Cuba last month that will allow regular, scheduled air service between the two countries to formally resume. The airlines’ proposed routes must also be approved by Cuban authorities.

Even if the Charlotte flight is approved, however, it won’t immediately be possible for Charlotteans to hop on a plane and head to Havana. Travel restrictions still in place require that U.S. citizens can only go to Cuba for certain types of trips, such as educational tours organized by approved companies, family visits, religious or charitable activities or journalistic activity.

An estimated 160,000 American leisure travelers visited Cuba last year, as well as hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans visiting family. Regular commercial air travel could add hundreds of thousands of leisure travelers.

Original article can be found here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com

Piper PA-28-140, N7168R: Incident occurred March 01, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Date: 01-MAR-16
Time: 19:41:00Z
Regis#: N7168R
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Milwaukee FSDO-13
City: MILWAUKEE
State: Wisconsin

AIRCRAFT LANDED DUE TO FIRE ONBOARD, DAMAGE UNKNOWN, MILWAUKEE, WI

http://registry.faa.gov/N7168R

Piper PA-46-310P Malibu, N567KC: Incident occurred March 01, 2016 in Huntington, West Virginia

Date: 01-MAR-16
Time: 20:55:00Z
Regis#: N567KC
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA46
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Charleston FSDO-09
City: HUNTINGTON
State: West Virginia

AIRCRAFT ON LANDING BLEW OUT A TIRE AND SUSTAINED MINOR DAMAGE, HUNTINGTON, WV

http://registry.faa.gov/N567KC

Piper PA-22-150, N4356A: Accident occurred March 02, 2016 in Fountain Hills, Maricopa County, Arizona

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

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA079
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 02, 2016 in Fountain Hills, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA 22-150, registration: N4356A
Injuries: 2 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 private pilot reported that, after a preflight inspection and engine run-up revealed no anomalies, he and a passenger departed, circled a nearby mountain, then descended to an altitude about 750 ft above ground level. Shortly thereafter, the engine experienced a partial loss of power. The pilot attempted to restore engine power, but was unsuccessful, and he elected to land the airplane on a dry wash. As the airplane touched down, the right main landing gear sank into the dirt, and the airplane made a sharp turn to the right. The airplane impacted a tree and came to rest nose down. The atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident were not conducive to the formation of carburetor icing. A postaccident engine examination and test run revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation; therefore, the reason for the loss of partial engine power could not be determined.

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

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona 

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N4356A

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA079
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 02, 2016 in Fountain Hills, AZ
Aircraft: PIPER PA 22-150, registration: N4356A
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

On March 2, 2016, about 1600 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-22-150 airplane, N4356A, executed a precautionary landing onto a sandy wash following a partial loss of engine power near Fountain Hills, Arizona. The private pilot and passenger were not injured; and the airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, a private party as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA), Phoenix, Arizona at about 1540.

The pilot reported that after a normal preflight and run-up, he took off and circled a nearby mountain before descending to about 750 feet above the ground at a 2,400 RPM. As they followed a nearby river, the engine started to sputter and decrease to about 900 RPM; the pilot increased and decreased the throttle several times, but the engine never went above 1,200 RPM before it decreased again. He observed that the oil pressure was low; therefore, he attempted to switch fuel tanks, turned on carb heat, ensured the mixture was full rich, but the engine never responded. The pilot elected to land the airplane onto a dry wash. When the airplane touched down, the right main landing gear sunk into the dirt and the airplane made a sharp turn to the right. The airplane rolled along the dirt, impacted a tree, and came to rest nose down.

During a postaccident examination by a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector, the engine cowling was removed and no visual anomalies were noted with the engine. The propeller and spinner were removed; and a test run propeller and temporary fuel tank were installed. The engine was started and operated normally; slowly, the power was increased to 2,400 RPM and the oil pressure was normal. After operating for a short time, the power was decreased and the engine was shutdown. There were no anomalies noted that would have precluded normal operation.

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA079

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 02, 2016 in Fountain Hills, AZ
Aircraft: PIPER PA 22-150, registration: N4356A
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

On March 2, 2016, about 1600 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-22-150 airplane, N4356A, executed a precautionary landing onto a sandy wash following a partial loss of engine power near Fountain Hills, Arizona. The private pilot and passenger were not injured; and the airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, a private party as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA), Phoenix, Arizona. 

The pilot reported that they were flying low, about 700 feet above the ground, taking pictures of the river when the airplane's engine started to sputter. The pilot added full power and ensured that the mixture and carburetor heat were full forward. Unable to regain full power, he landed the airplane on a sandy wash. During the landing roll, the airplane sunk into the sand and the right wing impacted vegetation. The airplane nosed over and came to rest with its back against a berm. 

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

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Scottsdale FSDO-07





FORT MCDOWELL, AZ - Authorities say a small plane has crashed on the Fort McDowell Reservation but there are no reported injuries.

Maricopa County Sheriff's officials say the Piper Tri-Pacer plane went down Wednesday afternoon near Fort McDowell Road and State Route 87.

FAA officials say the plane experienced engine trouble and the pilot was forced to land in a wash nearby.

Officials say one of the wings struck a tree when it landed and the plane was badly damaged. 

The aircraft had departed from Falcon Field for a local flight, according to the FAA.

Authorities say the two people aboard the single-engine plane are being evaluated by Fort McDowell Fire Department paramedics.

Sheriff's officials say they are assisting Fort McDowell authorities in the investigation of the crash.

Original article can be found here: http://www.abc15.com



PHOENIX - A small plane has crashed near Shea and the Beeline Highway on the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane had to make an emergency landing on the road.

Nobody was injured in the crash.

Original article can be found here: http://www.12news.com



PHOENIX   (KPHO/KTVK) -  A small aircraft has reportedly gone down on the Fort McDowell Reservation.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, the Piper Tri-Pacer aircraft went down northwest of Shea Blvd. and the Beeline Hwy.

No injuries are reported.

It's unknown how many passengers were on board.  

MCSO is assisting the Fort McDowell police and fire departments in the investigation.

Original article can be found here: http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Authorities say a small plane has crashed on the Fort McDowell Reservation but there are no reported injuries.

Maricopa County Sheriff's officials say the Piper Tri-Pacer plane went down Wednesday afternoon near the Verde River off the Beeline Highway.

Authorities say the two people aboard the plane are being evaluated by Fort McDowell Fire Department paramedics.

The cause of the crash is unclear at this time.

Footage from television news helicopters show the plane flipped over with damage to its wings but largely intact.

Sheriff's officials say they are assisting Fort McDowell authorities in the investigation of the crash.

Original article can be found here: http://www.kvoa.com

Vans RV-8, N558RV: Incident occurred February 29, 2016 in Provo, Utah

Date: 29-FEB-16
Time: 17:00:00Z
Regis#: N558RV
Aircraft Make: VANS
Aircraft Model: RV8
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Salt Lake City FSDO-07
City: PROVO
State: Utah

AIRCRAFT ON TAXI, BRAKE CAUGHT FIRE, FLAMES WERE EXTINGUISHED, PROVO, UT

http://registry.faa.gov/N558RV

Mooney M20M Bravo, N1086T: Incident occurred March 01, 2016 in Bend, Deschutes County, Oregon

Date: 01-MAR-16
Time: 22:00:00Z
Regis#: N1086T
Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Aircraft Model: M20M
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Portland FSDO-09
City: BEND
State: Oregon

AIRCRAFT LANDED GEAR UP, BEND, OR

http://registry.faa.gov/N1086T

Mayor upset about Google’s hangar sale: Moriarty Airport (0E0), Torrance County, New Mexico

While there is no for-sale sign at Google’s hangar at the Moriarty Municipal Airport, Mayor Ted Hart said he has learned it is on the market and is upset that the company isn’t working with the city on selling the 60,000-square-foot building.



The mayor of Moriarty said he is concerned about the city being left out of the loop in an effort to find a new owner of the airport hangar that was to have housed Google’s fleet of solar-powered drones.

Moriarty Mayor Ted Hart said at the end of a recent council meeting that he was upset to have just learned that Google put its Titan Aerospace hangar at the Moriarty Municipal Airport on the real estate market without discussing it with any city or airport official.

Last year, Google announced it had changed its mind about using the 60,000-square-foot airport hangar built at the Moriarty airport to develop an alternative method for delivering broadband, wireless Internet service using solar-powered drones. Google paid the state $995,000 to make up for a grant used to upgrade infrastructure at the airport.

But Hart said the state was not the only partner in making the airport ready for Titan. Federal Aviation Administration grants were also used at the airport, he said, and FAA regulations have tight restrictions for what can be flown out of the airport.

“The FAA has very specific uses that it will or won’t allow,” Hart said.

Even though Google owns the large hangar, Hart said the city still owns the land it sits on and was worried if the hangar would be shown to potential buyers using standard safety and security procedures.

When Google acquired Titan Aerospace in 2014, the state offered incentives to keep Titan operations at the airport where the New Mexico-based company had been testing its solar-powered drone for two years prior to the Google acquisition. Titan’s large, high-flying and lightweight drones caught the eye of Google that is competing with Facebook to provide greater Internet access using unmanned aircraft rather than orbiting satellites.

Original article can be found here: http://www.abqjournal.com

Cessna T206H, N1423W, Maricopa County Sheriffs Office: Incident occurred March 01, 2016 Reno-Tahoe International Airport (KRNO), Reno, Washoe County, Nevada

Date: 01-MAR-16
Time: 23:15:00Z
Regis#: N1423W
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 206
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Activity: Public Use
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Reno FSDO-11
City: RENO
State: Nevada

AIRCRAFT ON LANDING STRUCK A RUNWAY LIGHT, RENO-TAHOE AIRPORT, RENO, NV

MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE: http://registry.faa.gov/N1423W

Sonex, N439M: Incident occurred March 01, 2016 in Nantucket, Massachusetts

Date: 01-MAR-16
Time: 12:53:00Z
Regis#: N439M
Aircraft Model: SONEX
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Boston FSDO-61
City: NANTUCKET
State: Massachusetts

AIRCRAFT ON LANDING STRUCK THE PROPELLER, NANTUCKET, MA

http://registry.faa.gov/N439M

Boeing A75N1 (PT17) Stearman, N63555, Palm Springs Air Museum Inc: Accident occurred March 02, 2016 at Palm Springs International Airport (KPSP), Riverside County, California

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Riverside, California 

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

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

Palm Springs Air Museum Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N63555


Location: Palm Springs, CA
Accident Number: WPR16LA078
Date & Time: 03/02/2016, 1300 PST
Registration: N63555
Aircraft: BOEING A75N1(PT17)
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On March 2, 2016, about 1300 Pacific standard time, a Boeing A75N1 (PT17), N63555, touched down hard during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during the initial climb at Palm Springs International Airport, Palm Springs, California. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries and the passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. Palm Springs Air Museum Inc. was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The local sightseeing flight was originating at the time. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that the engine lost power passing through 400 ft after takeoff from runway 31L. He saw houses and other obstacles straight ahead and decided to turn around to land on runway 13R. The airplane landed hard on the runway centerline but came to rest aligned about 30° left of the runway heading.

During the initial examination, the forward end of the fuselage sustained crush damage around the front cockpit. The throttle lever in the cockpit would not move due to the damage; all linkages were connected from the cockpit to the carburetor. The mixture lever in the cockpit would not move due to the damage; all linkages were connected from the cockpit to the carburetor. Examination of the wreckage established flight control continuity for all flight controls. Portions of the bottom cylinders, numbers four and five, fractured and separated. A clear blue fluid, consistent with the smell of Avgas, was drained from the gascolator, and a water paste test had no reaction indicating that water contamination was not present. All fittings that could be reached were tight. A black fluid consistent with motor oil was evident on the dipstick. There was no external evidence of catastrophic mechanical malfunction.

A follow-up examination revealed that the exhaust tube coloration was light brown in color.

The air filter was clean. There was no discoloration in the intake tube at the filter.

The crankshaft was rotated using the propeller; there were no metallic sounds or binding. All valves except for the damaged bottom two cylinders moved approximately the same amount of lift in firing order. The gears in the accessory case turned freely. Thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders in firing order except for the two damaged bottom cylinders.

The carburetor was removed and disassembled. The floats were metal; the bowl contained no fluid. The accelerator pump operated without resistance. The throttle lever would not move; the housing was crushed; the butterfly valve was almost vertical (fully open). The mixture lever moved freely from stop to stop.

The carburetor heat arm was crushed at the box, and the rod end at the bellcrank fractured and separated along a jagged and angular plane. The fuel line was removed from the gascolator to the carburetor and nothing drained out from the line. The line was connected back to the gascolator and the fuel selector valve was turned on; blue fluid came out of the line. The line was removed again and an obstruction was seen near one end of the line. The firesleeve was removed on the hose. The hose went into the fitting at a slight angle that was not visible with the firesleeve in place. The line was cut close to the obstruction. The inner surface of the hose appeared cut and curled into the hose at the fitting.

An entry in the maintenance logbooks dated October 20, 1967, recorded that all new gas lines were made. There were no entries after that to indicate any work was performed on the gas line hoses.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial; Flight Engineer
Age: 62, Male
Airplane Rating(s):  Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider; Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):  Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Helicopter; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/08/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/14/2014
Flight Time:  14388 hours (Total, all aircraft), 35 hours (Total, this make and model), 10000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 40 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BOEING
Registration: N63555
Model/Series: A75N1(PT17)
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1946
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 75-8014
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/30/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2950 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 9021 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors Inc
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: WR-670-6N
Registered Owner: PALM SPRINGS AIR MUSEUM INC
Rated Power: 220 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PSP, 477 ft msl
Observation Time: 1253 PST
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / -1°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 20000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Palm Springs, CA (PSP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Palm Springs, CA (PSP)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1300 PST
Type of Airspace: 

Airport Information

Airport: Palm Springs International (PSP)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 477 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 31L
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 10000 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 33.824444, -116.506667 (est)




NTSB Identification: WPR16LA078 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 02, 2016 in Palm Springs, CA
Aircraft: BOEING A75N1(PT17), registration: N63555
Injuries: 1 Serious, 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 March 2, 2016, about 1250 Pacific standard time, a Boeing A75N1 (PT17), N63555, touched down hard during an aborted takeoff following a loss of engine power at Palm Springs International Airport, Palm Springs, California. Palm Springs Air Museum was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries and one passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight was departing. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that passing through 200 feet on the takeoff the engine lost power. He elected to abort the takeoff, and the airplane landed hard.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge and inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration examined the wreckage. Both of the main landing gear fractured and separated at the root, and both of the wings buckled. Portions of the bottom cylinders broke off. Fuel was drained from the gascolator, and a water paste test had no reaction indicating that water contamination was not present. There was no external evidence of catastrophic mechanical malfunction. The wreckage was removed to a recovery facility for further examination.







PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -   Biplane pilots are reacting to a Biplane crash landing earlier this week at the Palm Springs International Airport. 

The pilot has been released from the hospital and the Federal Aviation Administration is taking over the investigation.

The air museum said the passenger was a participant in its plane ride program but they can't release any information on that person's condition.

The vintage Stearman Biplane had engine troubles and landed hard at the airport Wednesday afternoon.

Kent Thomas is a pilot for Palm Springs Biplane Rides.

He's been flying airplanes since the late '70s.

"Airplanes, in my opinion, are a very safe way to travel, and the more training you have, the safer they are," Thomas said.

Thomas said with the biplane, the landing is the hardest part.

"This airplane has the third wheel on the tail rather than on the nose. So when you land, this plane has a tendency to want to reverse directions quickly," Thomas said. 

After a quick look around, Thomas shared the secret to success.

"The key to flying any airplane, they say be ahead of the airplane, anticipating what's going to happen in the very near future," Thomas said.

After a 10 minute flight and a smooth landing, Thomas reflected on Wednesday's crash.

"They were able to walk away from the crash, so actually that's a good outcome," Thomas said. 

Fred Bell, with the Palm Springs Air Museum, said the plane is in the hands of the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board and it will be a while before they know what happened.

"We had an airplane act up, just as you would a car or something else that acted up. And we need to figure out why it did what it did. If there are corrective measures, we'll take them at that time," Bell said. 

While the investigation continues Bell said it's business as usual.

As for Thomas, he's confident his plane will continue to be as safe as ever.

Officials at the Palm Springs Air Museum said they'll continue running flights despite losing one of their aircraft.

Palm Springs Biplane Rides will also continue operating as normal.


Story and video:  http://www.kesq.com



PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Emergency officials responded to the Palm Springs International Airport on Wednesday after a biplane made a hard landing on the runway, injuring two people on board.

Stearman aircraft biplane has extremely hard landing at Palm Springs International Airport, injuring two people on board.

The extent of their injuries is unknown at this time but both were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

The Palm Springs Fire Department confirmed the information to KESQ and CBS Local 2 shortly after the incident, which occurred at about 1 p.m.


Officials with the Palm Springs Air Museum said the biplane was a Stearman aircraft. Spokeswoman Ann Greer said the biplane reportedly lost power for some unknown reason before making the hard landing.


Palm Springs Airport Director Tom Nolan said the incident shut down airport operations for about 45 minutes. Several incoming and outgoing flights were delayed while crews worked to clear the aircraft from the runway. Runways were back open at about 2 p.m.


The Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement saying the aircraft is a vintage Boeing PT 17 biplane. The tail number is N63555. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.


The FAA and NTSB don't identify people involved in aircraft incidents, officials said in the statement.


Passengers on other planes were tweeting that they weren't being allowed to deplane for about a half hour in the aftermath of the incident.


Original article can be found here:  http://www.kesq.com


Two people were injured after an airplane crashed during an "aborted takeoff" at the Palm Springs International Airport Wednesday afternoon.

Just before 1 p.m., the the biplane reached 200 feet before it lost power and returned to the runway, said Fred Bell, managing director of the Palm Springs Air Museum, which owns the airplane. The plane landed and skidded off runway.

"It doesn't appear anyone was seriously injured," Bell said.

The Palm Springs Fire Department confirmed that two people were taken to a local hospital, but referred other questions to airport officials.

According to Air Traffic Control radio transmissions, the plane crash forced all runways to shut down.

Officials used a flatbed truck to remove the biplane from the runway at about 2 p.m.

The single-engine plane - a 1940s-era Stearman -  is registered to the Air Museum, according to Federal Aviation Records.

It was donated to the museum in January 2010 by Indian Wells residents Wayne and Laura Hoffman.

The FAA has been notified and the crash is under investigation.

Original article can be found here: http://www.desertsun.com

Aviation officials are investigating after an antique bi-plane experiencing engine trouble and a small fire crashed at Palm Springs International Airport Wednesday afternoon, sending two people to the hospital and damaging the Stearman aircraft.

The Boeing PT-17’s pilot radioed after taking off from the airport they were having engine problems and had to return, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.

Two people were on the plane, whose tail number is N63555. They crashed while landing at about 12:50 p.m. The plane was “substantially damaged,” Gregor reported.

FAA and National Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating.

The two-seat bi-planes were originally used as military trainers, barnstormers and crop dusters. The 1946 Boeing PT-17 is based at the Palm Springs Air Museum, an airport tenant.

The people got out of the plane on their own and were taken to the hospital, Palm Springs Deputy Fire Chief Ron Beverly said. He referred other questions to airport officials.

Palm Springs Air Museum spokeswoman Ann Greer disputed that the plane crashed as reported by the FAA.

“The plane had a hard landing,” Greer said. “It lost power.”

Airport Director Tom Nolan said he had no information about who was in the plane or the extent of possible injuries. The plane was “a little bumped up” but fully intact. Nolan didn’t know if the wheels were down during landing in the airport’s peak season.

The plane had a “disruption in power” and a small fire coming from the engine compartment as it landed “quite hard” on the runway, he said.

Greer couldn’t provide the pilots’ names. She didn’t know if they were staff or volunteers or if they were injured.

A crane lifted the plane onto a flatbed truck and the runway was cleared within 50 minutes, Nolan said.

Original article can be found here:   http://www.pe.com