Friday, March 11, 2016

Remos GX, N28GX, New Mexico Sport Aviation LLC: Fatal accident occurred March 11, 2016 near Ohkay Owingeh Airport (E14), Espanola, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Albuquerque FSDO-01


NTSB Identification: CEN16FA122
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, March 11, 2016 in Española, NM
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On March 11, 2016, about 1627 mountain standard time, a Remos Aircraft GmbH Flugzeugbau model Remos GX, special-light sport aircraft (S-LSA), N28GX, was destroyed during a postimpact fire following a loss of control in the airport traffic pattern at the Ohkay Owingeh Airport (E14), Española, New Mexico. The private pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by New Mexico Sport Aviation LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed for the personal flight that departed E14 about 1620 with the intended destination of Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF), Santa Fe, New Mexico.

According to the aircraft owner, the pilot had rented the airplane to gain familiarization with the takeoff-and-landing procedures used at the Los Alamos Airport (LAM), Los Alamos, New Mexico. When operating at LAM, all landings are made on runway 27 and all departures are made to the opposite direction on runway 9. A review of available Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control (ATC) radar data indicated that the airplane departed SAF about 1350, preceded north-northwest toward LAM, and subsequently landed on runway 27 about 1405. At 1417, the airplane reappeared on ATC radar after it had departed LAM on runway 9. The flight then proceeded about 8.5 miles northeast of LAM before returning to land on runway 27 about 1427. At 1433, the airplane reappeared on ATC radar after it had departed LAM on runway 9. The flight again proceeded about 8.5 miles northeast of LAM before returning to land on runway 27 about 1443. At 1448, ATC radar data indicated the airplane had departed LAM and continued northeast toward E14. At 1455, the airplane descended below available radar coverage about 3.3 miles southwest of E14.

The airplane was equipped with a GlobalStar SPOT satellite tracking device, which reported its position every 5 minutes when activated. According to available track data, the device recorded the airplane on the ramp at E14 about 1503. During the next 15 minutes, the device recorded three stationary data points while the airplane situated on the ramp. There were no position reports received between 1518 and 1627. At 1627:31, the final GlobalStar SPOT data point was recorded near the approach end of runway 16. The GlobalStar SPOT data did not include any altitude information. Additionally, there was no ATC radar data for the accident flight because the airport traffic pattern altitude was below available radar coverage.

There were two witnesses to the accident flight. Both witnesses were standing outside a residence located about 0.4 miles southeast of the runway 16 departure threshold. One of these witnesses reported seeing the airplane make left traffic for runway 16 and land. The witness reported that the airplane made a second takeoff and continued to make left turns. He reported that as the airplane was turning from the crosswind-to-downwind leg, he heard a reduction in engine power and saw the airplane descend toward the ground in a nose level attitude. The airplane subsequently descended behind a hill which was followed by an explosion. The second witness reported that he heard the airplane takeoff from the airport, and as the airplane was making a left turn, he saw it descend nose first toward the ground. He noted that there was a large explosion and ascending fireball upon the airplane impacting the terrain. The same witness reported that the engine sounded as if it was operating normally during the accident flight.

The wreckage was located in an open field about 885 feet east of the runway 16 departure threshold. The initial impact point was where the engine had impacted the ground on a heading of south. No discernable wreckage debris path was projected from the initial impact point. The main wreckage consisted of the entire airplane. All major structural components and flight controls were identified at the accident site; however, a majority of the carbon-fiber composite fuselage, wings, and empennage had been destroyed during the postimpact fire. The pitot tube, located on the leading edge of the left wing, had penetrated the ground at a 45 degree angle. A majority of the flight control push-pull tubes for the elevator and ailerons were destroyed during the postimpact fire. Flight control cable continuity for the rudder was confirmed from the control surface to the cockpit. The engine had sustained significant thermal damage during the postimpact fire. A partial disassembly of the engine revealed no mechanical failures of the crankshaft, connecting rods, and pistons. No anomalies were noted with the cylinders or valve assemblies. Normal wear and combustion signatures were noted on the upper spark plugs. The magneto assembly, located on the rear of the engine, was destroyed during the postimpact fire. No anomalies were noted with the reduction gearbox assembly. Two of the three propeller blades exhibited impact and fire damage. The remaining propeller blade appeared undamaged.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot, age 46, held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land airplane rating. Her last aviation medical examination was completed on May 4, 2015, when she was issued a third-class medical certificate with a limitation for corrective lenses. A search of FAA records showed no previous accidents, incidents, or enforcement proceedings. Her last flight review, as required by FAA regulation 61.56, was completed upon the issuance of her private pilot certificate dated January 2, 2016. The pilot's flight history was reconstructed using pilot logbook information. Her most recent pilot logbook entry was dated March 9, 2016, at which time she had accumulated 132.9 hours total flight time, of which 41.8 hours were listed as pilot-in-command. She had logged 127.1 hours of flight time in a Remos GX special-light sport aircraft. She had accumulated 4.1 hours in simulated instrument meteorological conditions and 4.6 hours at night. She had flown 132.9 hours during the prior 12 months, 89.5 hours in the previous 6 months, 36.8 hours during prior 90 days, 23.5 hours in the previous 60 days, and 12.5 hours in the 30 day period before the accident flight. The flight instructor's logbook did not contain any recorded flight time for the 24 hour period before the accident flight.

The accident airplane was a 2009 Remos Aircraft GmbH Flugzeugbau model Remos GX, serial number 356. A 100-horsepower Rotax model 912 ULS reciprocating engine, serial number 6783105, powered the airplane through a fixed-pitch, three blade, Neuform model CR3-65 propeller. The airplane had a fixed tricycle landing gear, was capable of seating two individuals, and had a certified maximum gross weight of 1,320 pounds. The special-light sport aircraft (S-LSA) was issued an airworthiness certificate on May 13, 2010. The current owner-of-record, New Mexico Sport Aviation LLC, purchased the airplane on February 21, 2011. According to dispatch documentation, the airplane's HOBBS hour meter indicated 2,916.7 hours before the accident flight. The airframe had accumulated a total service time of 2,916.7 hours. The engine had accumulated a total service time of 916.7 hours since new. The last condition and 100-hour inspection of the airplane were completed on March 1, 2016, at 2,898.8 total airframe hours. A postaccident review of the maintenance records found no history of unresolved airworthiness issues. The airplane had a total fuel capacity of 22 gallons (21 gallons useable) contained in a single fuselage tank. A review of fueling records established that the airplane fuel tanks were topped-off before the accident flight departed SAF.

The nearest aviation weather reporting station was located at Los Alamos Airport (LAM), Los Alamos, New Mexico, about 14 miles southwest of the accident site. At 1556, the LAM automated surface observing system reported the following weather conditions: wind 190 degrees true at 12 knots, gusting 24 knots; visibility 10 miles; few clouds at 10,000 feet above ground level (agl), scattered clouds at 18,000 feet agl, broken ceiling at 25,000 feet agl; temperature 26 degrees Celsius, dew point -9 degrees Celsius, altimeter setting 29.69 inches of mercury. A peak wind velocity of 27 knots was recorded at 1525.

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

Karen Young and her husband at the Los Alamos Airport after a recent flight.

Thomas Spickermann was a proud supporter of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s “Young Eagles” program, a program that showed young people the many pathways into the aviation field one could take. One of the highlights of the program was taking kids through the preflight checkup, the flight, and a question and answer session afterward. 

Karen Ann Young, left, stands with her son, Charlie Young, and Piñon Art Educator Stephanie Rittner.

The Los Alamos aviation community grieved the loss of two enthusiasts and friends this week, after they crashed in a small airplane near the Ohkay Owingeh Airport outside of Española Friday afternoon. 

Shortly after the tragic news swept through the local community, members started coming forward to share their thoughts about Thomas Spickermann, 47 and Karen Ann Young, 46.

Young and Spickermann were performing landing and takeoff maneuvers during a training flight when the plane went into a spiral and crashed.

The aircraft was a Remos GX fixed wing single engine “light sport” aircraft. According to initial reports, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have yet to release a preliminary report about what caused the accident.

One member of the local aviation community emailed a statement to members after the accident.

“I have always known that what makes New Mexico Sport aviation great is the wonderful group of people who have come together to pursue a passion for flying,” the member wrote. “This tragic accident has shown what a close family we’ve created. I am extremely grateful to everyone who has shared their condolences and offered to help in our difficult time. Please remember (Young’s husband) and (their children) and Thomas’s family, no doubt they could use your love and assistance.”

Spickermann was a member of EAA’s (Experimental Aircraft Association) Chapter 691, the EAA’s local, northern New Mexico chapter.

“Experimental aircraft” is a category used by the FAA to describe airplanes that are built by individuals, instead of a factory.

Experimental aircraft are inspected and certified as flightworthy by the FAA. The airplane Spickermann and Young were flying was not classified as experimental, but Spickermann owned at least one experimental aircraft, a Zenith CH750 STOL that he built himself.

According to members, Spickermann once served as vice president and president of the chapter at various times. The chapter represents Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Española and northern New Mexico. According Chapter 691’s website, Spickermann was serving as the site’s newsletter editor and webmaster.

Will Fox, the organization’s technical counselor and flight advisor, recalled Spickermann’s passion for flight and experimental aircraft. Spickermann often brought guests to the meetings to talk to the chapter members about aviation and the technical aspects of experimental aircraft, Fox said.

Fox first met Spickermann when he approached Fox for help on building his Zenith, the first aircraft he built by himself.

He recalled Spickermann’s optimistic spirit when it came to tackling the literal nuts and bolts of the project, he said. Spickermann, whose professional background was theoretical physics, had to learn how to use a rivet gun as well as other specialized tools required to build it.

“He started right from scratch without a lot of the skills needed to build those planes,” Fox said.

“Finish it he did, and when he was done, he had a good solid airplane.”  

Spickermann was only too happy to share his accomplishment, which served to inspire his friends and fellow pilots, Fox said.

“As soon as he got done, he started giving everybody rides,” Fox said. “He used to say that if he could build one, then anyone can build one.”

Fox was also lifelong friends with Young’s father, and he knew Young well.

“Karen was an incredibly enthusiastic young lady, real quick with a smile,” Fox said. “Very outgoing, a very positive person … very inquisitive. If she wanted to find out about something she wouldn’t hesitate to call you and ask you questions till she wore you out. She reminded me a lot of her dad.”

Young worked as an engineer at LANL in the same division as Spickermann. One day, Spickermann offered to take Young up in his Zenith, and that’s when she became fascinated with small aircraft flight.

She had only recently got her private pilot’s certificate about two months ago.

While Spickermann helped Young with flying, it soon became apparent that Spickermann himself was going to need help losing weight and getting in shape for a flying trip to Alaska they planned to take.

Young, an avid runner, helped him with that, and soon had Spickermann running, bicycling, and competing in various races and meets.

A statement in the email sent out to the aviation community also talked about how Spickermann’s enthusiasm for aviation, and flying grew on Young.

“His passion for aviation was contagious, enough so that his friend and coworker, Karen Young decided to join him on the Alaska trip,” a statement in the email to the aviation community read. “To be a more helpful passenger, Karen planned to take a few lessons ... Karen soon became hooked on flying and went far beyond ‘just a few lessons,’ earning her private pilot certificate.”

According to the email, Young also enjoyed sharing her enthusiasm for flight, especially with her husband and children.

“Karen took each of (her children) to experience the joys of flying, and just a week ago flew her husband to Taos for a picnic lunch under the wing of the airplane,” according to the statement.

Even though Young and Spickermann were experienced pilots, the Alaska trip was to be their first big flight. Fox said Spickermann also was an avid photographer, and was looking forward to bringing his camera with him.

“He always took a camera with him whenever he went flying, he was always taking pictures from the air. He would take pictures until the batteries died or he ran out of storage,” Fox recalled. “I don’t know what he liked more, flying or taking pictures from the air ... This trip to Alaska was going to be a great opportunity for them to take turns flying and taking pictures of their trip.”

Shortly after the accident, EAA 691 posted this statement on its website:

“Two of our members were fatally injured in an airplane crash on Friday, March 11. Thomas Spickermann and Karen Young. Both were shining lights not only for our club but for everyone they touched. Our thoughts and love go out to the families of both of these wonderful beings. Please keep the children and family members in your thoughts.”

Original article can be found here:

Karen Ann Young, like her father before her, dreamed of flying to Alaska in a small, single-engine airplane.

Following his advice to gain experience as a pilot, Young was flying at about 4:30 p.m. Friday a quarter-mile east of the Ohkay Owingeh Airport.

Her hopes and her life ended there.

Young had rented the two-seat, single-engine Remos GX airplane that crashed with her at the controls. She and her passenger, experienced pilot Thomas Spickermann, both died in the crash. They were training for the trip north.

Weather did not appear to be a factor. Winds were calm and clouds that would build before snow fell the next day weren’t yet on the horizon.

Young’s 81-year-old father, Charles Cummings, said he doesn’t know what happened.

“I was pretty excited about it, but, you know,” he said Monday of his daughter’s Alaska plans. Then his voice trailed off. “Things don’t always work out like you wanted them to.”

Young, 46, was the deputy leader for an engineering group that ran the radio frequency systems used in the particle accelerator at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She leaves a husband and two sons, 11 and 9. They live in Los Alamos.

Spickermann, 47, ran the team that operated the lab’s particular accelerator. He lived in Los Alamos and was married.

Young had obtained her pilot’s license in January, hoping to fly the more than 3,000 miles to Alaska with Spickermann, her father said in a phone interview from Oklahoma. Cummings had made the trip numerous times in his youth, and fears he gave his daughter the idea of emulating him.

Cummings, also a former Los Alamos laboratory engineer, said he used to fly single-engine Cessnas to Alaska, stopping every several hundred miles to refill the small fuel tanks. He said he loved learning the country one airstrip at a time.

His daughter’s sense of adventure is partly his fault, he said. He knows flying is dangerous, and said that was in the back of his mind when he suggested that she get her pilot’s license. But he supported her interest in aviation. She was preparing to buy her own Cessna when she crashed, he said.

He doesn’t regret her choice. “I regret her death,” he said.

Others occasionally saw Young and Spickermann logging flight hours together in Northern New Mexico, training for the big trip to Alaska. Spickermann was even building an experimental airplane for it, and he’d talk constantly about it at work, said his boss, Mark Gulley.

“He’d come in and there’d be a Band-Aid or two on his fingers,” which he’d blame on rivets he’d fastened to his plane that weekend, Gulley said.

Spickermann was recognized in 2013 by the Federal Aviation Administration for his high level of pilot training.

His and Young’s deaths are a blow to the lab, Gulley said.

Spickermann kept his experimental plane in a hangar at the Ohkay Owingeh Airport. Gulley said he’d already built and sold an experimental model, replacing it with the larger, more powerful aircraft to allow him and Young to fly farther. He spent most weekends tinkering with it, said the airport’s manager, Ron Lovato.

Wiggy Greacen, an aircraft mechanic in Gilbert, Ariz., said Spickermann invited him to New Mexico a few times to examine the plane, which someone could spend 1,000 hours building.

“He did meticulous work,” Greacen said. “It was a very nice aircraft.”

The plane, an experimental model by Zenith Aircraft Co., now sits in Hangar No. 8 without wings.


Two people died in a single engine plane crash Friday in Rio Arriba County. 

The incident took place near the Ohkay Owingeh Airport at El Llano Road and NM 241 north of Espanola.

New Mexico State Police said the incident happened around 4:30 p.m.

Due to the extent of the destructive nature of the crash, officers are still working to identify the aircraft and the identity of the deceased.

The crash remains under investigation and the Federal Aviation Administration will be on site tomorrow to figure out the cause.

The Office of the Medical Investigator is working to determine the identity of the deceased. 

Story and video:

A small, single-engine airplane crashed outside the Ohkay Owingeh airport Friday afternoon, killing at least two people, according to emergency personnel on the scene. 

The crash, around 4:30 p.m., occurred on the edge of Ohkay Owingeh property, 50 feet  from the fence that encompasses the airport, on the southern end.

It was not immediately known how many people were in the plane. 

The aircraft appeared to be circling the airport before the crash, according to witnesses and emergency responders.

The wreckage burned for some time before emergency responders were allowed to extinguish it and the Office of the Medical Investigator has yet to take custody of the bodies to perform autopsies.

Plumes of smoke billowed off the wreckage until firefighters, using 4-wheel drive fire trucks, were able to reach the wreckage. 

City of  Espanola firefighters and Santa Clara Pueblo firefighters initially responded to the crash and cut through a fence at the airport to access the wreckage.

State Police officers took over the investigation, pending the arrival of officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which regulates flight in the country.

Original article can be found here:

ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) - Authorities have released the identities of two people who were killed in a small plane crash in northern New Mexico.

New Mexico State Police say 46-year-old Karen Ann Young and 47-year-old Thomas Spickermann, both of Los Alamos, died when the single-engine plane went down Friday afternoon near the Ohkay Owingeh Airport near Espanola.

State Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Armijo says there were no others on board.

She says Young is believed to have been the pilot and Spickermann the co-pilot.

WestJet hires Ernst & Young to review practices after sex assault suit

CALGARY - WestJet has hired Ernst & Young to conduct an independent investigation of issues raised by employees related to workplace assault or harassment.

The Calgary-based airline says it asked staff to come forward with any information they might have about assault or harassment after a former flight attendant filed a sexual assault lawsuit.

WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky says some staff members responded and in light of the new information, it has asked Ernst & Young to review its investigative and reporting procedures.

The airline says the consulting firm will also assess its practices for a safe and harassment-free work environment for its employees.

Former flight attendant Mandalena Lewis says in a statement of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court that the airline failed to adequately investigate after she alleged a pilot had sexually assaulted her in 2010. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Saretsky says the company intends to defend the lawsuit in court but takes seriously the broader issues of sexual assault and harassment that were raised.

Original article can be found here:

Laid-off maintenance workers seeking injunction against Air Canada

The union that represents former Aveos workers is hoping a judge will grant an injunction to force Air Canada to obey court judgments.

The move comes as the Quebec government abandoned a court case against the airline despite two victories in court.

David Chartrand, a vice-president of the Quebec Federation of Labour, said Air Canada must respect the most recent court decision.

"That is why the Supreme Court was asked to hear and try to overturn that decision, but what legally is standing right now is the decision from the Court of Appeals where five, not one, not two, five people decided unanimously that Air Canada had to comply," said Chartrand.

The legal battle began in 2012 when Air Canada shut down its aircraft maintenance divisions in Montreal and Winnipeg and outsourced it to other countries, despite a federal law requiring such work be done in Canada.

Quebec's government took the airline to court and won in Superior Court and the Court of Appeal, so this past January Air Canada filed a petition to be heard in the Supreme Court of Canada.

In February the provincial government said it would no longer defend the 1,700 Aveos workers in exchange for Air Canada pledging to buy up to 75 CSeries jets from Bombardier, and a promise those planes would be maintained in Montreal starting in 2019.

The QFL said even though Quebec has abandoned the case, the Supreme Court has not yet agreed to hear the case, meaning the current judgment stands.

"The maintenance should be done if it's fleet here in Montreal urban community in Winnipeg and Mississauga and what we intend to do with the application we file today is to make sure that happens," said Chartrand.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau has said the end of the lawsuits against Air Canada would provide the federal government with an opportunity to change the Air Canada Public Participation Act. 

Story and video:

TV series about Alaska plane crashes doesn't please Sen. Murkowski or the travel industry

Chris Shaver, with the National Transportation Safety Board, investigates a plane crash in an episode of “Alaska Aircrash Investigations," on the Smithsonian Channel.

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski says a show about Alaska air crashes premiering Sunday is in poor taste and could do major damage to business in the state.

The Smithsonian Channel show, “Alaska Aircrash Investigations,” follows National Transportation Safety Board investigators as they seek answers relating to six fatal plane crashes in the summer of 2015. 

The show’s concept is "cruel, hurtful and exploitative. And if that were not insult enough, it is enabled by two taxpayer supported entities," Alaska’s senior senator wrote in a letter to the show’s producers and the Smithsonian.

Murkowski was incensed that, despite the involvement of the Smithsonian and the NTSB, she only found out about the show after reading an article in Alaska Dispatch News.

The show could scare visitors off air travel in the state, just before the start of summer tourist season, she said.

"The timing of this series could not be worse,” Murkowski wrote in one of several letters sent to parties involved with the production. "Alaska's aviation and tourism industries fear that the series would dissuade visitors from purchasing flightseeing tours and fly-in fishing expeditions. Remote fishing lodge operators fear the series will discourage potential customers from using their facilities." 

NTSB officials told ADN last month that the show is more documentary than reality, and great care was taken to be sensitive to a difficult subject matter. Anchorage writer Emily Fehrenbacher obtained an advance review copy and found it a bit dry, she wrote for

But requests for advance copies by the Alaska Air Carriers Association and the Alaska Travel Association were declined. Murkowski's office received a copy of the first episode on Thursday. 

Already, Alaska Airlines -- not included in the series -- complained about the original title, which had included “Alaska Air Crash,” and the title was changed to "Alaska Aircrash Investigators,” Murkowski said in a letter. "That seems to me a distinction without a difference in the court of public opinion," she wrote. 

Sarah Leonard, president of the Alaska Tourism Industry Association, said her group has concerns “over what the tone of the series might be on such a critical topic to not only the tourism industry, but also Alaskans who use small planes to fly from community to community.” 

Nearly 20 percent of tourists to the state take a flightseeing tour, Leonard said, echoing Murkowski’s concerns about the timing of the show. 

Murkowski, who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, was acutely offended by the potential involvement of federal finances in the project. 

"It seems out of character that the NTSB would 'go Hollywood,'" she wrote to NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart. 

"What does the NTSB gain from participating in a reality show which cannot help but sensationalize tragic aviation mishaps for public consumption yet contribute nothing to the NTSB's core mission to investigate and inform?" Murkowski asked Hart, pledging to raise the issue in a forthcoming hearing on the agency’s budget. 

Murkowski lobbed 19 detailed questions about the show at Hart, asking for the names of those who approved it, and for more information on the financial agreement and what level of editorial control the NTSB retained in the process. 

And, she asked, why didn’t the agency think to inform the Alaska congressional delegation?

Murkowski said in the letter that she has heard “that the NTSB, members of the production crew or both, may have misrepresented the reason the film crew was present,” telling people the filming was part of an investigation or for internal training purposes. 

If that turns out to be the case, she may involve agencies’ inspectors general to investigate the matter, Murkowski said. 

Beyond the concerns about financial impacts, Murkowski said, she finds the concept of the show distasteful. 

Many rural and Native communities have experienced deadly accidents but must continue to depend on air travel.

"My staff in Alaska suggests that forcing rural and Native people to relive some of their darkest days is cruel and insulting," Murkowski wrote. 

Murkowski asked that the premiere be delayed "if not permanently shelved." 

Linda St. Thomas, chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian Institution, said the Smithsonian had received the letter but not yet responded. 

Chris O'Neil, an NTSB spokesman, said the agency has discussed the issues in the letter with Murkowski and her staff.

“We are compiling the information necessary to fully respond to the senator’s questions,” O’Neil said. 

Alaska airline industry groups shared Murkowski's concerns that the show could foster a negative impression about Alaska air travel. 

Matt Atkinson, president of the Alaska Air Carriers Association and owner of several air tourism companies, said he is worried about the “general negative impact and connotation that associates Alaska aviation with air crashes.”  

“That feeling alone can tank an industry in one season,” Atkinson said. 

To some degree, that impression may already exist in the Lower 48, particularly given the widely reported death of Sen. Ted Stevens in August 2010 and many others in a state that has at times had an accident rate far higher than the national average

Alaska's Medallion Foundation, a safety organization formed in 2001 by the Alaska Air Carriers Association, notes on its website that in “the 1990s, being an Alaskan pilot was listed as the most hazardous occupation in the United States.” 

But between 2000 and 2009, the aviation industry in Alaska has reduced accidents by 47 percent, through "safety programs, advanced avionics installation in aircraft and the continued deployment of weather camera and weather reporting stations," according to the Medallion Foundation and the Alaska Air Carriers Association. 

Atkinson said the Alaska Air Carriers Association board reached out to producers and the congressional delegation after hearing about the show. 

Producers filmed industry perspectives that they said they will post on the website, and they agreed to change some episode titles to remove locations. The first episode, originally called “Juneau Flight Down,” is now “Forest Flight Down.”

Original article can be found here:

Grant County, Washington: Local pilots land helicopter at Moses Lake Christian Academy

MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake Christian Academy students enjoyed a rare treat Wednesday afternoon when a team of pilots from the Inland Helicopters school landed a helicopter on the school’s playground.

The Inland Helicopters program has worked out of Big Bend Community College (BBCC) for four years, according to pilot and U.S. military veteran Stephen Henry. Henry piloted the helicopter that landed at Moses Lake Christian Academy (MLCA) Wednesday afternoon in front of students and staff.

Unfortunately, Henry said, the Inland Helicopters program is on its way out of Big Bend. He said the end of the current quarter will mark the end of the program in Moses Lake. Starting in the fall, Inland Helicopter will be based at its new home at North Idaho College.

“A lot of rules changed with the VA and there wasn’t enough private pay,” Henry explained, “because for every five veterans we have to have one private pay. So it didn’t work out with the school. It’s unfortunate because it was a great place to fly. You guys have a lot of good flying weather here.”

Henry completed his training through the program at Big Bend and recently completed the necessary certifications to teach others to fly. During his time in the military, he was the recipient of three Purple Hearts.

Henry was accompanied by a team of fellow Inland Helicopters pilots, all three of which are military veterans. He said the program has drawn pilots from far and wide, including himself — he relocated from California for the schooling.

Wednesday, the Inland Helicopters team landed the helicopter on MLCA’s playground and then gave students the opportunity to check out the aircraft. Many took pictures with the pilots and the helicopter, and some lucky ones got to crawl into the helicopter.

Henry and his wife, Alecks, have children who are students at Moses Lake Christian Academy. Henry said bringing the students a helicopter demonstration was all about piquing students’ interests and teaching them about a world few get to be involved in.

“I thought it would be a nice time to bring a helicopter in and talk about it and just show the kids a helicopter. A lot of kids don’t get to see a helicopter,” Henry said. “I’m a big aviation enthusiast and I think if someone were able to bring a helicopter to school when I was a kid, it would have made a huge impression on me and what I wanted to do with my life.”

Original article can be found here:

Pittsfield Municipal Airport (KPSF) study group likely to urge review of business park lease origins

PITTSFIELD — The study group assessing the cost-effectiveness of the city managing Pittsfield Municipal Airport will likely recommend a review of the agreements that led to creation of the Westwood Business Center Park on airport land.

At issue is whether all lease revenue from the 30-acre business park should properly go toward improvements at the airport, rather than be split with the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp., which oversees the seven-lot park.

The study group, which was appointed by Mayor Linda M. Tyer at the request of the City Council, heard Wednesday from officials with PERC, the city Community Development office and airport officials, who described what has been confirmed about the history of the park's development in the mid-1980s.

"Clearly, there are conflicts [in the written record], and clearly it was set up a long time ago," group Chairman Thomas Sakshaug said at one point.

But Sakshaug added later in the meeting that "our charge is to make recommendations to the mayor and City Council, not to solve problems." He said he expects the group will recommend that the leases and other aspects of the park management relative to the airport be re-examined by the agencies or departments involved.

The committee on Wednesday also received a breakdown of airport expenses and revenue from former Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop, which also estimated the amounts the city has contributed annually to the airport operation.

Ann Dobrowolski, a community development specialist with city Community Development Department, who also serves as clerk for PERC, said the Westwood park was carved out of airport land and developed by the city and PERC using federal Community Development Block Grant funding. The intention, she said, was to sell the lots to businesses locating there, but the Massachusetts Aeronautics Division objected to selling the land.

Therefore, she said, the idea of long-term leases was proposed and allowed through special state legislation in an effort to make the agreements attractive to potential business tenants. In addition, the first two leases were set at $1 per year for 40 years as an incentive to spur activity at the park.

"There were a lot of meetings," she said, and state aviation and Federal Aviation Administration officials were involved, but Dobrowolski and other local officials said an agreement showing that all the parties had signed off on the lease agreements has not yet been located.

One problem, according to Community Development Director Janis Akerstrom, is that because federal CDBG funds were used to develop the park lots, the revenue derived was required to go back into community development programs, such as a small business revolving loan programs. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development restrictions on use of revenue derived from those funds would continue "in perpetuity," she said.

Dobrowolski said an agreement was reached that provides 85 of the lease revenue to PERC, a community development corporation with general membership, and 15 percent to the city Airport Commission.

Meanwhile, according to airport Manager Robert Snuck, the FAA specifically requires that all revenue derived from airport property should go toward airport improvements. He said that his research into the history of the park's creation found no document that shows state or federal aviation officials signed off on the lease agreements and dispersal of the revenue.

"It might take a court decision to straighten it out," he said.

Lothrop pointed out, however, that although different federal and state agencies apparently have different priorities for the lease revenue, without the initial $450,000 investment in the park initiated by the city and PERC "there would be no lease revenue."

He added, "You have to look at the balance sheet."

Even without significant lease revenue for the airport, Lothrop said, the city is gaining approximately $129,522 in property tax revenue annually on buildings in the park and $30,568 in personal property tax revenue related to the businesses there.

Airport Commission Chairman Christopher Pedersen, also a member of the study group, said the commission has long been aware of the FAA requirement that revenue from airport lands go toward airport improvements and has unsuccessfully tried to get to the bottom of the issue.

"The paperwork may be there," he said, but definitive agreements and sign-offs by all parties have not yet surfaced.

Regardless, Pedersen has pointed out that the total lease amount is not high. Annually it is just over $20,000, with 85 percent going to PERC and 15 percent to the commission.

Lothrop produced a basic expense/revenue sheet Wednesday for the airport that showed that from 2010 through 2015, the city was required to provide from $66,880 to $98,303 per year toward the operation, after total airport revenue and expenses were compared.

Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell, one of those who originally called for the study, said there is a need to increase revenue at the airport, seek support from the other Berkshire communities that benefit from the facility or look at other management formats, such as privatization.

Group member C. Jeffrey Cook agreed about the need to look at revenue sources but noted that many city facilities, such as schools, libraries and parks are supported regardless of their ability to generate revenue.

Pedersen said he feels "we're under pressure" to generate more revenue when other city facilities are not. He added that a report estimated the total economic impact on the area from activity at the city airport is more than $30 million annually in terms of business generated and employment in the Berkshires.

Original article can be found here:

National Transportation Safety Board investigators unravel Alaska plane crash mysteries on Smithsonian series

Chris Shaver, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, examines plane wreckage from a crash near Juneau.

Plane crash investigators have plenty of work in Alaska, which counts about 100 plane accidents per year and averages one each day during the summer.

Each accident yields its own set of clues and delivers its own lesson that National Transportation Safety Board investigators can help pilots avoid future incidents. But dry accident reports about complex aerodynamics or mechanical flaws don't always make for the most scintillating reading.

Now, through a new documentary television series, "Alaska Aircrash Investigations," on The Smithsonian Channel, pilots — and the public — can come along for the ride and watch as investigators unravel both the mundane and mysterious crashes that plague the northernmost state.

“The big test take-away from this is if we can get one pilot to think about something that is brought up on the show, a checklist item that gets them thinking — if it saves one person, all of this was worth it," NTSB investigator Shaun Williams, a former airline pilot and flight instructor, told USA TODAY.

One case investigated why an air taxi slammed into a mountain during a routine flight from the capital, Juneau. Another involved a recently repaired plane that crashed into a river during its first test flight. In one of the most emotional cases, a pilot flew over his daughter's wedding celebration and crashed into trees.

Millicent Hoidal, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, examines plane wreckage to determine what caused a crash. She is featured on the Smithsonian Channel series "Alaska Aircrash Investigations."

Residents of the remote state more than twice as large as Texas depend on planes to get around with few roads between communities. But smaller, single-engine planes leave less room for error when something goes wrong. In most crashes, planes and their passengers survive with minor damage and injuries, but some crashes result in deaths.

In August 2010, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens was among four passengers and the pilot who died in the crash of a de Havilland DHC-3T Otter. In October 1972, U.S. Rep. Hale Boggs, D-La., disappeared with three other passengers and a pilot aboard a Cessna 310C.

"We look at what happened and try to make recommendations to keep it from happening again," Clint Johnson, chief of the NTSB regional office in Anchorage, told USA TODAY.

Alaska's NTSB office with four investigators is one of a constellation of regional offices with 52 investigators nationwide. During Johnson's 18 years with NTSB, the number of accidents has dropped from 130 per year to about 100.

Getting to crash sites quickly to take pictures and retrieve the plane is key to a successful investigation – a task that is not always easy in a state with challenging weather conditions, vast forests and mountains and often, few roads.

“All of this information is pieces to the puzzle,” said Johnson, who used to chat about cases with Stevens, whose Senate office was next door to the NTSB. “Without that information, you can’t solve the puzzle.”

When a Cessna 207 air taxi crashed into a mountain during the half-hour flight on July 17, 2015 from Juneau to Hoonah, killing two people and leaving three survivors, investigator Chris Shaver needed a lift from a Coast Guard helicopter to get him to the crash site just 18 miles from the capital. The site was so remote that the Coast Guard had to lower Shaver to the site in a metal basket.

Shaver ultimately had a helicopter lift the wreckage out of the forest so investigators could scrutinize it. Restarting the engine, reviewing navigational equipment and interviewing witnesses were each part of the effort to figure out what happened.

“When things go wrong, they can go wrong quickly," Johnson said.

A crash into a river near Bethel carried broader implications because a company had made many similar improvements to all of the planes in its fleet. If the problem was mechanical, finding and fixing it could potentially save lives across the country and around the world, Johnson said.

"That information could change a whole fleet or a whole series of airframes later on," Johnson told USA TODAY.

Investigator Millicent Hoidal discovered that the experienced pilot had flown just a few hundred feet above the ground during the Cessna 207’s first flight after the repairs, rather than the customary 5,000 feet — a clue that led to solving the mystery on the show.

Hoidal had to wait a couple of months to retrieve the wreckage from the swollen river. But in the meantime, she got crucial information about the dead pilot that pointed where to look in the wreckage.

In the wedding case July 19, 2015, near Trapper Creek, the pilot had just officiated at his daughter’s marriage. He flew over the crowd in a Cessna 206 to celebrate,  but instead crashed in the trees and died.

The investigator, Brice Banning, an enthusiastic pilot himself who has survived a crash, said every accident carries a lesson to be learned.

"For me, the motivation for this show is that I firmly believe if we can take pilots along with us on accidents and they can see what we do and apply it to their flying, we will reduce accidents in Alaska," Banning said.

The series will air Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern starting March 13 on the Smithsonian Channel.

Original article can be found here:

Beech D17S Staggerwing, N9290H, Delta Enterprise: Accident occurred March 11, 2016 at Van Aire Airport (CO12), Brighton, Colorado


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Denver FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA146
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, March 11, 2016 in Brighton, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/03/2016
Aircraft: BEECH D17, registration: N9290H
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot of a tailwheel-equipped biplane reported that shortly after the biplane lifted off the runway during takeoff, he diverted his attention and reached for the fuel selector which was located on the lower right wall of the cockpit. He further reported that the biplane drifted to the left of the runway and impacted a fence. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the upper and lower right wings, and the fuselage. 

According to the pilot there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain the runway course during takeoff, resulting in the airplane drifting to the left and impacting a fence. A contributing factor to the accident was the pilot's diverted attention during the takeoff.

BRIGHTON, Colo. — A small plane skidded off the runway and crashed in a field at Van Aire Skyport on Friday morning, Brighton Fire Rescue said.

The pilot was on board the plane when it crashed. 

There were no injuries.

A Brighton Fire spokeswoman said the pilot looked down to adjust the fuel when it skidded off the runway.

The pilot told officials the plane is worth $500,000.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash.

Original article can be found here: 

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — A small plane skids off the runway and crashes in a field at Van Aire Skyport in Brighton.

The Brighton Fire Department says no-one was hurt. 

he pilot was alone in the plane which skidded when the pilot looked down to adjust fuel. 

Neighbors called in the crash.

The FAA will handle the investigation.

Original article can be found here:

Cessna 175, N9359G, Floyds Flying Service LLC: Incident occurred March 10, 2016 in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri

Date: 10-MAR-16
Time: 19:28:00Z
Regis#: N9359G
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 175
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Missouri



Incident occurred March 10, 2016 near Logan International Airport (KBOS), Suffolk Country, Massachusetts

Someone on the ground aimed a laser beam into the cockpit of a Delta flight approaching Logan airport Thursday night, according to Massachusetts State Police.

The plane was flying “a few miles northeast of Boston” at about 8 p.m. when the incident happened, according to state police spokesman David Procopio. Police believe the laser came from the Lynn area.

“The fear is if it hits the cockpit at a certain angle, it can interfere with the sight of the flight crew,” Procopio said. “It’s troubling and it could be dangerous.”

Police are investigating the incident.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were more than 5,300 incidents of people aiming lasers at U.S. planes in 2015.

“Shining a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime that the U.S. vigorously pursues,” wrote the FAA in a statement. “Lasers distract pilots from their safety duties and can lead to temporary blindness during critical phases of flight, such as takeoff and landing. In some cases in the past, pilots have reported eye injuries that required medical treatment.”

This isn’t the first time a laser light has interfered with an aircraft in the Boston area. In May, a medical helicopter reported a green laser light flooded the cockpit as it traveled to a Boston hospital early one morning.

The pilot of that flight, Rick Ruff, told CBS , “I don’t think that people understand the real impact of what these lasers can actually do to a pilot, a crew, and a patient during a critical phase of a flight. The overall fact that you’re putting at risk not only my life but the life of my crew and my patient is a definite source of frustration when these individuals do this.”

The FAA urges the victims and witnesses of laser incidents involving aircraft to report it.

Original article can be found here:

Beech E-90 King Air, N17NM, Seven Bar Flying Service Inc: Incident occurred March 11, 2016 in Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, New Mexico

Date: 11-MAR-16
Time: 02:25:00Z
Regis#: N17NM
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 90
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
State: New Mexico