Monday, March 21, 2016

Spencer Suderman breaks own record in Yuma County, Arizona

YUMA, Ariz. – An acrobatic pilot completed 98 inverted spins in his airplane breaking his own record at Million Air airport.

Spencer Suderman took off in his Sunbird S1X aircraft and successfully landed in the terminal apron at Yuma International Airport after breaking his own record Sunday morning.

Back in March 17, 2014 Suderman broke his last record at El Centro Naval Air Facility with 81 Inverted spins. Suderman says that wasn’t good enough and he wanted to set the bar as high as he could to make it more of a challenge for anyone looking to beat the record.

Mike Kobylik of Electroair, a primary sponsor, says how they improved his ignition system.

Kobylik said, “We provided Spencer an electronic ignition system. Which helps the system maintain at a high altitude one of the most important parts of this maneuver is that Spencer has to get very high in order to complete the large number of flat spins as he descends down to the ground, our ignition system makes power at high altitude.”

The crew chief Karl Ott says, the biggest modification they made this time was the seating, “The aluminum race car seat, so there is literally nothing left of the original seat of this aircraft.”

Ott continues by saying the seating was the primary problem in Suderman having to abort early. Once Suderman landed he had a good feeling about breaking the record.

“Awesome, I have been working on this for a long time. When I broke this record for the first time I only did it by three turns. Yeah, it’s a new world record, but it wasn’t that satisfying I need to come back and smash it and smash this record and I wanted to make this so difficult for the next person that no one wants to catch up,” Suderman said.

Two official judges from Guinness Book of World Records have confirmed that 98 spins were completed and Spencer Suderman holds the world record for most inverted spins in the air.

Story and video:

Lack of training, parachute failure causes of Gatineau skydiving accident: report

GO Skydive instructor Carolyne Breton

Ottawa - An unusual parachute failure and insufficient instructor training were the causes behind a near-fatal July 2015 skydiving accident near Gatineau, a report has found.  

The July 8 accident near the Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport put 22-year-old GO Skydive instructor Carolyne Breton and her student, a 45-year-old man, in hospital. 

The tandem jump they attempted starts at 13,000 feet, then has a 45-second free-fall before the parachute is deployed at 5,000 feet. 

A failure with the reserve canopy caused them to come crashing down in a field next to the company’s facilities.

Breton suffered bone fractures and a severe concussion while her passenger, whose name has not been released, suffered life-threatening injuries.  

Breton and her passenger had about 49 seconds of free-fall before Breton released the main canopy, then the reserve canopy was automatically released, according to the accident report by the Standards Commission, equity, health and safety (CNESST). 

An issue with the reserve canopy caused the pair to descend in a spiral at a faster speed than normal. 

Breton tried but was unable to straighten the trajectory of the parachute and regain control. 

Breton asked her male passenger to lift his legs so that she alone would absorb the shock of their landing.

The report lists the causes of the accident as a failure with the reserve parachute, which caused the downward spiral and uncontrolled landing, and a deficiency in training for emergency situations for instructors. 

The skydiving school is a member of the Canadian Sport Parachuting Association (CSPA) and the United States Parachute Association (USPA). It follows the rules and regulations of skydiving set out by the CSPA and the equipment manufacturing company, United Parachute Technologies (UTP). 

Original article can be found here:

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six, Star Marianas, N4089W: Fatal accident occurred October 06, 2013 on Tinian Island, Northern Mariana Islands

Owners of Piper plane settle 2 survivors’ lawsuit for $300K

The owners of a Piper aircraft that crashed on Tinian in October 2013, killing three persons and injuring four others, have settled for $300,000 the lawsuit filed by two of the four survivors.

The parties’ counsels Timothy H. Bellas and Colin M. Thompson filed on Friday a stipulated motion, asking the U.S. District Court for the NMI to approve their settlement.

Bellas is counsel for the defendants Star Marianas Air Inc. and Tinian Transportation Management Solutions Inc., while Thompson is counsel for Lisha Gu and Gu’s minor daughter, Yuxin Wu.

Gu and Wu were among the four survivors in the crash. Gu’s husband and Wu’s father, Xuan Wu, was among the three passengers killed in that crash.

Pilot Luis Silva and a Chinese female tourist were the two other fatalities.

Lisha Gu and the child are currently residing in Shanghai, China.

According to Bellas and Thompson, Star Marianas Air maintained liability insurance, which covered the injuries suffered by the minor child and decedent, with maximum coverage of $300,000 per person.

Bellas and Thompson said the parties have negotiated a settlement of all claims between the parties and this has resulted in the execution of a confidential settlement agreement.

Bellas and Thompson asked the court to find that the amount of the settlement is reasonable and allow Lisha Gu to sign the settlement agreement on behalf of the minor.

The lawyers said the settlement amount of $300,000, less attorney’s fees and advanced costs, is to be deposited into a trust account in China, with the child as he named beneficiary and Lisha Gu as the trustee.

The lawyers said the trust shall be used for the support and education of the minor until she turns 18 years of age.

Once the court approves the settlement, the parties will file  a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Gu and the child sued Tinian Transportation Management Solutions Inc., Star Marianas Air Inc., the plane’s pilot Silva, and 10 unnamed co-defendants, for negligence-wrongful death, negligence, loss of consortium, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The plaintiffs asked the court to hold the defendants liable to pay them in unspecified amount of damages, court costs, and attorney’s fees.

Thompson stated in the complaint that on Oct. 6, 2013 at 2:51am, a Piper Aircraft piloted by Silva crashed three miles north of the Tinian International Airport on Tinian, completely destroying the plane.

As a result of the impact, Xuan was killed and plaintiffs Gu and Wu suffered severe and debilitating personal injury.

Thompson said prior to the crash, the Saipan-bound aircraft descended to an altitude of 302 feet, turned 180 degrees, and collided with a jungle-covered hill at an elevation of 450 feet.

Thompson said the last radio communication with Silva involved him asking traffic control for weather condition information.

Thompson said prior to Oct. 6, 2013, defendants had knowledge of other air crashes involving their aircraft, including a Nov. 19, 2012 crash involving defendants’ Piper 32-300 and a pilot flying between Saipan and Tinian, which caused death and serious personal injury.

In the Nov. 19 crash, one person was killed and six others were injured. The six survivors, all Chinese nationals, also filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against the pilot, Jae Choi, Star Marianas Air Inc., Marianas Air Travel, Tinian Transportation Management Solutions Inc., Tianing Travel Agency, Top Development Inc., and 100 unnamed co-defendants.

Original article can be found here:

NTSB Identification: WPR14LA007
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, October 06, 2013 in Tinian Island, MP
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2014
Aircraft: PIPER PA32 - 300, registration: N4089W
Injuries: 3 Fatal, 4 Serious.

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

During a night visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country flight, the pilot encountered a rain shower that reduced the cloud ceiling and visibility, so he then attempted to return to the departure airport. While maneuvering, the airplane descended and impacted terrain. A witness estimated that the airplane’s altitude was less than 500 feet. He saw the airplane make a sharp left turn and then fly out of his view and then he heard the sound of a crash. Physical evidence observed at the accident site was consistent with controlled flight into terrain. No evidence was found of any preimpact mechanical discrepancies that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane. Damage to the propeller blades was consistent with the engine developing power at impact. It is likely that the pilot attempted to maintain VFR flight by descending to remain below the clouds and was unable to see and avoid the terrain due to dark night conditions.

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain terrain clearance while maneuvering at low altitude in dark night conditions.

On October 6, 2013, about 0251 local time, a Piper PA-32-300, N4089W, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering about 3 miles north of the Tinian International Airport on Tinian Island, United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The airline transport pilot and two passengers were fatally injured; four passengers were seriously injured. The airplane was being operated by Star Marianas Air, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. A company visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the planned 10-nautical mile, night, cross-country flight from Tinian Airport to Saipan International Airport on Saipan Island. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at Tinian Airport for the flight's departure about 0241.

The operator reported that the airplane was 1 of 6 airplanes being used to transport a group of 127 Chinese tourists and travel guides from Tinian to Saipan to connect with a flight from Saipan to Shanghai, China. The weather conditions at both Tinian and Saipan Airports were reported to be VFR but other company pilots flying at the same time as the accident pilot indicated that there were rain showers occasionally passing between the two islands throughout the early morning hours.

One company pilot reported that he departed Tinian immediately after the accident airplane. After takeoff on runway 08, the accident pilot turned left to a crosswind leg. The company pilot said that he then took off on runway 08 and turned left to a crosswind leg; he recalled seeing the accident airplane to his left, and it appeared to him that it was flying northwest toward the Voice of America (VOA) antennas (a group of strobe-lighted antennas up to 400 feet tall located on the northwest side of Tinian). The company pilot reported that there was a rain shower in the channel between Tinian and Saipan, and he could not see Saipan Airport when he took off. He further reported that there was a rain shower over the north end of Tinian. He asked the accident pilot where he was going, and he thought the reply was "heading toward VOA." The company pilot switched to the Saipan air traffic control tower (ATCT) frequency, and he heard the controller giving the accident pilot weather information. He contacted the controller and continued his flight to Saipan.

The Saipan air traffic controller who spoke to the pilot stated that the pilot asked him for weather information, and he responded that he did not have Tinian or the VOA antenna lights in sight. The pilot acknowledged receiving the information, and there was no further communication between the controller and the pilot. The controller said that it was mostly clear over Saipan that night, and all of the weather seemed to be over Tinian.

The company's chief pilot reported that he was landing at Tinian Airport as the accident airplane was taking off. He said that at that time, the weather in the channel between the islands was "not good with about 4 miles visibility and rain." After picking up his passengers, he departed for Saipan about 5 to 10 minutes after the accident airplane. When he took off, the weather was good over Tinian but the channel was blocked by a rain shower. He held for about 5 minutes over the airport until the weather cleared over the channel and then he continued to Saipan.

A witness, who was a security guard at the VOA antenna site, reported that he saw the airplane fly by and noticed that it was flying lower than other airplanes he had seen before. He estimated the airplane's altitude was less than 500 feet. He saw the airplane make a sharp left turn, and he assumed it was heading back to Tinian Airport. The airplane flew out of his view to the southeast, and he then heard the sound of a crash. The witness reported that there was light rain at the time, and the airplane was below the clouds.

The operator reported that between 0305 and 0315, the chief pilot determined that the airplane was overdue and notified Saipan ATCT, and a search was started. About 1035, the accident site was located about 3 miles north of Tinian Airport and 1.5 miles east/southeast of the VOA antennas. The wreckage was located on a hill in a densely wooded jungle area at an elevation of about 450 feet.


The pilot, age 59, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multi-engine land rating. He had commercial privileges in single engine land airplanes. He also held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single engine, airplane multi-engine, and instrument airplane ratings that expired on July 31, 2014. His most recent first-class medical certificate was issued on October 16, 2012, with the limitation, "holder shall possess glasses for near/intermediate vision."

According to the operator, the pilot had a total flight time of 5,573 hours of which 499 hours were in the accident make and model airplane. His total night flight experience was 1,111 hours, and he had 430 hours of instrument flight experience of which 350 hours were in actual instrument meteorological conditions. In the past 90 days, 30 days, and 24 hours, the pilot flew 240, 50, and 3 hours, respectively, in the accident make and model airplane. His night experience in the past 90 days, 30 days, and 24 hours, was 61, 50, and 3 hours, respectively.

The pilot's most recent Part 135 airman competency/proficiency check was satisfactorily accomplished on March 7, 2013, in a Piper PA-32-300.

The operator's director of operations (DO) reported that about 0500 on the morning of October 5, 2013, the pilot was involved in an incident at Tinian Airport where "he inadvertently taxied an aircraft off the taxiway and into a ditch." The pilot, the sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured, and the airplane, a Piper PA-32-300, N8639N, sustained a propeller strike. The DO stated that it was dark when the incident occurred, and a taxiway light was out along a corner of the taxiway. He further stated that two other company pilots had similar trouble at the same location on the same night although there was no damage to their airplanes. The DO discussed the incident with the pilot about 0800. He saw the pilot again that evening, and he noted that the pilot "appeared fine." He asked the pilot if he "felt ok to fly that night," and the pilot replied that he was ok.


According to the operator, the airplane was maintained in accordance with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved aircraft inspection program, and the most recent inspection was completed on October 5, 2013. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 17,003 hours, and the engine, a Lycoming IO-540-K1A5, had accumulated 1,380 hours since major overhaul. The airplane was equipped with a Garmin Aera 500 portable global positioning system (GPS) navigation device that incorporated a moving map display.


At 0254, an automated weather reporting station at Saipan Airport, located about 7 nautical miles north of the accident site, reported wind from 070 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 1,600 feet, broken clouds at 2,300 feet, temperature 26 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature 24 degrees C, and altimeter 29.71 inches of mercury. The remarks section of the report stated that rain began at 0159 and ended at 0230.

Review of images from the Weather Surveillance Radar (WSR)-88D installation at Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, located about 100 nautical miles south of the accident site, indicated that between 0245 and 0251, an area of precipitation moved westward from offshore and covered the northern end of Tinian Island.


A FAA inspector conducted an on scene examination of the wreckage and reported that the airplane impacted trees; both wings and the empennage separated from the fuselage; and the main wreckage, consisting of the fuselage and engine, came to rest about 200 feet from the first point of impact with the trees. The debris path from the initial impact point to the fuselage was oriented on a heading of about 130 degrees (southeast). The fuselage came to rest on its right side, and the cabin roof separated from the fuselage and was laying beneath the aft section of the fuselage. The propeller remained attached to the engine crankshaft, and all three propeller blades were bent and twisted in a manner consistent with the engine developing power at impact. The examination revealed no evidence of any pre-impact mechanical anomalies or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on October 9, 2013, by the Department of Public Health of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. A request was made by the FAA inspector for specimens to be sent to the FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for forensic toxicology but no specimens were received.


A Garmin Aera 500 portable GPS navigation device was recovered from the wreckage. Track data was downloaded from the unit and plotted. The data indicated that the airplane departed Tinian Airport and turned left to a north/northeast heading that was maintained until it reached the eastern shore of Tinian Island. The airplane then made a right 270-degree turn to a northwesterly heading that was maintained until about 1650. At 1649:40, the airplane was at a GPS altitude of 1,135 feet, and it began to turn left and descend. The last data point recorded was at 1651:14 at a GPS altitude of 302 feet; by this time, the airplane had turned about 180 degrees and was heading roughly southeast.

Tupelo Regional Airport (KTUP) gets airline

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Some say you can't learn to fly unless you learn to fall.

This is a challenge the Tupelo Airport Authority knows well as they've searched for the right airline provider. 

"Well in the past we've had airlines that have recently come out of bankruptcy and weren't really prepared to serve the city. Then we had an airline that flew a single engine airplane that had problems with on time performance and people lost confidence in it," said Vice President Jim Newman of the Tupelo Airport Authority.

But hopefully confidence will be renewed as the Tupelo Airport Authority signed a contract with CFM to permit Contour Airlines to service the area. 

The contract hammered out details about the $2500 a month rent and the square footage to be used. 

The resolution will bring much appreciated revenue to the Airport Authority.

"We haven't had an airline, so we've had no rent coming in. And now we're going to have an airline so we're going to have some rent coming in. It'll help us budgetwise," says Newman.

The budget is also helped by new avenues for income generated from the airline, like passenger facility charges.   

Another favorable result of the contract is the airport will make money off of jet fuel sales.

The airport will have five flights a day. The Airport Authority is confident in the new airline.

"You're going to be very happy. We've got a good airline," says Newman.

- Story and video:

Piper PA-28-181, N183CF, Cherokee Flyers Inc: Incident occurred March 19, 2016 in Marco Island, Collier County, Florida

Date: 19-MAR-16
Time: 00:30:00Z
Regis#: N183CF
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Miami FSDO-19
State: Florida



Dixon Municipal Airport (C73) study could help open runways to commercial aircraft

DIXON – A feasibility study on the City Council's radar is part of a plan for the Dixon Municipal Airport that, in the long run, could help the city's economy.

The council is considering conducting a study to determine what improvements would be needed to upgrade the airport into more of a commercial facility.

City Manager Cole O'Donnell said the city wants to take a look at the long-term feasibility of the airport, which accommodates mostly pleasure aircraft.

"We would like to see what it would take and how much it would cost to modernize and expand the airport to attract more nonpleasure aircraft at the airport," he said.

If approved, the feasibility study would cost $10,000 to $30,000. The tentative timeline of the study would have a start date in June and completion date in October.

"I think if the airport was made more commercial, it could create more opportunity for certain aircraft to land and could expand economic development recruiting for the area," O'Donnell said.

To determine the airport's long-term feasibility, the study would evaluate the current facilities and operations to identify improvements needed for an upgrade.

About a year ago, a 7-member task force was created to study comparable airports and see how commercial, retail and airport-related businesses might be attracted through a long-range plan.

Proposed in the plan was a new 5,000-foot runway, the length most insurance companies require as a minimum for corporate jets.

The airport's current runways are 3,897 feet and 2,803 feet, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

"In order to fully utilize the facility as more than a pleasure craft airport, we would need to expand the runway," O'Donnell said. "What we need to do is look at the current facility and see what the extent of the upgrades would need to be."

The city is also looking to apply to two FAA grants for improvements to the fencing and runway lights at the airport. The grants would require that the city own and maintain the improvements for at least 20 years.


The City Council next meets at 5:30 p.m. April 4 at City Hall, 121 W. Second St.

Go to or call City Hall at 815-288-1485 for an agenda or more information.

Original article can be found here:

Mooney M20C, N3559H: Incident occurred March 18, 2016 in Okeechobee County, Florida

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Orlando FSDO-15


Date:  18-MAR-16
Time:  14:46:00Z
Regis#:  N3559H
Aircraft Make:  MOONEY
Aircraft Model:  M20C
Event Type:  Incident
Highest Injury:  None
Damage:  Unknown
Flight Phase:  LANDING (LDG)
State: Florida

Incident occurred March 21, 2016 at Olive Branch Airport (KOLV), DeSoto County, Mississippi


An airplane made an emergency landing at Olive Branch Airport.

Olive Branch Fire Department said there were no injuries, but the plane has damage to the front landing gear.

Airport crews used a tractor to tow the plane off the runway.

Original article can be found here:

Beech 35, N4576D: Incident occurred December 23, 2015 in Ogallala, Keith County, Nebraska

Date: 23-DEC-15
Time: 21:30:00Z
Regis#: N4576D
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 35
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Lincoln FSDO-65
State: Nebraska


Flight attendant and former Miss Jamaica World runner-up who 'fled LAX because she had two suitcases full of cocaine worth $3 million is arrested at JFK'

LAX police found 11 packages of cocaine wrapped in green cellophane and labeled, 'BIG Ranch' inside one of the bags Reynolds had allegedly left behind.

  LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11 / CNS) - A JetBlue Airways flight attendant who allegedly had almost 70 pounds of cocaine in her carry-on luggage and fled when Los Angeles International Airport security officials pulled her aside for a random baggage search is expected to make her initial court appearance in New York today.

Marsha Gay Reynolds, who allegedly kicked off her Gucci high heels as she fled Friday night, surrendered to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in New York on Wednesday, officials said.   Reynolds was charged Wednesday in Los Angeles with possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

The drug discovery was made Friday afternoon in Terminal Four by a Transportation Security Administration security officer who was screening the airline attendant's carry-on bags as part of a random search, according to an FBI affidavit.

As the TSA officer led Reynolds to a location to be searched, she made a cellphone call -- speaking in what sounded like a foreign language -- then kicked off her shoes and ran from the terminal down the up escalator, the
affidavit said.

The agent didn't pursue because his primary concern was the bags Reynolds was carrying and airport police who conducted a search for Reynolds couldn't find her, authorities said.

Reynolds' abandoned luggage was found to contain 11 individually wrapped packages -- labeled "Big Ranch" -- that were taken to the Los Angeles police's Forensic Science Division, where the contents tested positive for

In the wake of the foiled drug-smuggling attempt, Los Angeles Airport Police Officers Association President Marshall McClain called for 100 percent screening of all passengers and employees at LAX. 

"Flight attendants and other crew members are not normally subjected to searches, but this is a perfect example of why Los Angeles airports need 100 percent screening of all passengers and airport employees" McClain said.

McClain disputed claims it's impossible to screen everyone that comes to work at LAX, pointing out that such screening is done at two prominent Florida airports.

"Miami International Airport and Orlando International Airport screen all of their employees," McClain said. "Miami has screened approximately 38,000 employees since 1999. Total employee screening is realistic and
achievable and it should happen here at LAX."

Requiring 100 percent screening would raise the odds of stopping an insider or lone wolf terrorist attack and help minimize opportunities for airport employees to commit crimes, according to the police union. "The weekend's incident reinforces the (union's) calls for an airport police officer to be stationed within 300 feet of the TSA screening checkpoint,' McClain said.

"While airport police officers are charged with patrolling an entire massive airport terminal, having an officer dedicated to being within 300 feet of the security area ensures that an officer is immediately available to
respond to issues at the screening station. which is the last line of defense in keeping unwanted items off of planes and ill-willed individuals from getting access to planes," McClain said.

Sixty pounds of cocaine were seized from carry-on luggage at Los Angeles International Airport.  Authorities released this image on Monday, March 21, 2016.

 Authorities are looking for a flight attendant who fled Los Angeles International Airport without shoes Friday night after being subject to a random search that turned up about 60 pounds of cocaine in two carry-on roller bags, authorities told NBC News.

The flight attendant, like other crew members, is not normally subjected to searches. But just after 9 p.m. Friday, the unidentified flight attendant was pulled aside by TSA officers for a random screening in Terminal 5, law enforcement sources familiar with the incident said.

The woman, who was not identified, appeared nervous and made a cell phone call in a language not recognized by officers, authorities told NBC News. She was then taken aside to a secondary screening area and was asked for her employee identification.

Suddenly, the woman bolted from the screening location, running with her bags toward an escalator. After a short distance she jettisoned the luggage and her Gucci shoes, exiting the terminal. The suspect, who is being sought, was due to be on Flight 028 from LAX to LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

The incident, which is being investigated by Los Angeles Airport Police, LAPD and the Drug Enforcement Administration, was captured on video, which was not immediately released. The drugs have been booked into evidence.

Original article can be found here:

JetBlue Airbus A320, N536JB: Incident occurred March 20, 2016 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (KJFK), New York

Date: 20-MAR-16
Time: 14:30:00Z
Regis#: N536JB
Aircraft Make: AIRBUS
Aircraft Model: A320
Event Type: Incident
Damage: Unknown
Activity: Commercial
Aircraft Operator: JBU-JetBlue Airways
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA New York FSDO-15
State: New York


Piper PA-28-140, N6329R: Incident occurred March 20, 2016 in Akron, Washington County, Colorado

Date: 20-MAR-16
Time: 19:45:00Z
Regis#: N6329R
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: Minor
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Denver FSDO-03
State: Colorado


Airborne XT-912, Pacific Blue Air Inc., N670EM: Fatal accident occurred March 21, 2016 at Hawthorne Municipal Airport (KHHR), Los Angeles County, California

Pacific Blue Air Inc: 

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA El Segundo (Los Angeles) FSDO-23

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA086
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, March 21, 2016 in Hawthorne, CA
Aircraft: AIRBORNE XT 912, registration: N670EM
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On March 21, 2016 about 1201 Pacific daylight time, an Airborne XT912 weight shift control (WSC) special light sport aircraft, N670EM, was destroyed when it impacted a fence and a roadway shortly after takeoff from Northrop/Hawthorne Municipal Airport (HHR), Hawthorne, California. The student pilot received fatal injuries. The aircraft was owned and operated by Pacific Blue Air of Venice, California, and was based at HHR. The instructional flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to multiple witnesses, the aircraft initiated its takeoff roll from HHR runway 25, at a point prior to the displaced threshold. Just after liftoff, the aircraft began to bank and turn right, and continued to do so until its flight track was approximately perpendicular to the runway heading. The aircraft initially climbed, but then descended, and struck a fence and then a 4-lane road about 220 feet north of the runway centerline, and about 1,400 feet from the start of the takeoff roll. Witness estimates of the maximum altitude ranged between 40 and about 200 feet, and their maximum bank angle estimates ranged between 45 and 90 degrees. All witnesses reported that the engine rpm increased during the flight, and that the engine continued to run at least until impact.

The aircraft came to rest at the north edge of the road, and a fire began immediately. The impact site was adjacent to a water-pumping work crew, and they immediately began applying water to extinguish the fire. Airport and other rescue and fire-fighting personnel and equipment arrived within 5 minutes of the accident. The pilot was extracted from the wreckage and transported to a hospital. The wreckage was examined and documented on scene by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NTSB personnel, and transported to a secure facility for additional examination.

The pilot held an FAA student pilot certificate that was issued in May 2014. Review of her pilot's logbook indicated that her first flight was conducted in October 2013, and that she flew about 2 to 3 times per month thereafter. All of her recorded flight time in the logbook was for WSC aircraft. All of the flight time through June 2015 was in an Evolution Revo aircraft that was also owned by Pacific Blue Air. Her first flight in the accident aircraft was on June 8, 2015, as were all her subsequent flights. The logbook indicated that the pilot had accrued about 38 hours in the Revo, and about 21 hours in the accident aircraft. The pilot's first solo flight was accomplished on November 2, 2015. The logbook listed 8 solo flights, with a total flight time of about 7 hours. Her most recent flight, which was a cross-country solo, took place on March 16, 2016.

FAA information indicated that the aircraft was manufactured in 2007, and was equipped with a Rotax 912 series engine. According to the owner, the aircraft was acquired about a year prior, and was equipped with an "SST" model wing. The owner reported that the airframe and engine had accumulated a total time in service of about 500 hours.

The 1153 HHR automated weather observation included calm winds, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 19 degrees C, dew point 11 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.12 inches of mercury.

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

Erin Storm, a contestant on season 12 of The Bachelor and a pilot, died in a plane crash in Los Angeles on Monday, March 21, multiple outlets are reporting. Storm competed on Matt Grant’s season of the hit ABC reality dating show in 2008.

According to the reports, Storm was flying an  Airborne XT-912 aircraft and crashed soon after taking off from the Hawthorne Municipal Airport.

Byron Mayes, a Best Drilling and Pump, Inc. employee who was working on a tank near the airport, told NBC that he witnessed the crash. 

"All of a sudden, my partner started yelling, 'Watch out, there's a plane coming!' and it looked like the plane veered up, lost control and hit a couple feet away from the truck, a couple feet away from us," Mayes said.

Mayes told NBC that he and his coworkers ran over to the burning plane and pulled Storm out of the aircraft. According to NBC, Storm’s legs were on fire, and she was in cardiac arrest when rescue crews arrived; after she was transported to a trauma center, she was pronounced dead.

Storm worked as a pilot for Pacific Blue Air, an aircraft training facility based at Hawthorne Airport. According to witnesses, Storm was dressed in a blue Pacific Blue Air jumpsuit for her final flight.

The Venice, California, resident was eliminated during week 3 of British Bachelor Grant’s season, in which reality star Shayne Lamas coveted the final rose. At the time, Storm’s occupation was listed as a “hot dog vendor.”

Our thoughts go out to her friends and family. 

Original article can be found here:

A female pilot who was pulled unconscious from her burning aircraft after the small plane crashed near Hawthorne airport Monday afternoon later died, according to police.

The crash was reported shortly after noon in the 3600 block of 120th Street, just south of the 105 Freeway, according to Capt. Keith Mora of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

A crew working on a private well project nearby saw the plane coming toward where their truck was parked.

"My partner just started yelling, 'There's a plane coming, a plane coming,'" said witness Byron Mayes. "It looked like the plane just veered up, lost control and hit a couple feet away from the truck, a couple feet away from us."

Three workers rushed to the wreckage, finding the pilot unconscious, with her legs burning. Fire spread to their work truck and up hoses they were using, Mayes said.

"Our first thought was getting her out, making sure she was OK," he said.

Responding firefighters were able to halt the flames, and paramedics performed "life-saving measures" and took the pilot to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

The unidentified pilot did not survive the crash, the Hawthorne Police Department posted on its Facebook page.

The small aircraft -- a light-sport, weight-shift-control plane -- was departing Hawthorne Municipal Airport when it crashed, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The Airborne XT-912 had only the one person on board, the FAA spokesman said.

Aerial video showed the wreckage was significant and the plane was in pieces.

Meanwhile, a police vehicle crashed near 119th Street and Prairie Avenue, a few blocks west of the plane crash. The black-and-white police SUV appeared to have collided with another SUV.   The officer was responding to the report of the plane down when he was involved in a crash, a Hawthorne Police Department official said.

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HAWTHORNE ( — An ultralight aircraft crashed and burst into flames after taking off from Hawthorne Municipal Airport Monday.

Byron Mayes and his coworkers with Best Drilling and Pump were working on a well on West 120th Street around noon when the plane was plunging about a quarter-mile off the west end of the airport.

The 18-year-old said he was only a few feet away from being struck by the falling aircraft.

“It kind of went straight up and just veered right. And as soon as it veered right, my partner started yelling: ‘Oh! Watch out. Watch out. There’s a plane.'”

“Next thing I knew the plane was coming straight at me. So I ran out of the way,” Mayes said. “As soon as the plane hit the curb, it blew up. And the flames just kept getting bigger and bigger.”

He and his coworkers rushed to pull the female pilot out of the burning wreckage. “We pulled her out of the plane before we even got to the fire extinguisher,” Mayes said. “Her legs were on fire. That’s when my partner ran in and pulled her out.”

The pilot was rushed to a hospital in full cardiac arrest. “We checked her pulse, and sadly to say there was no pulse at first. But the paramedics were doing as best as they could to keep her breathing,” Mayes added.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor confirmed the aircraft was an Airborne XT-912 – a light-sport, weight-shift-control plane.

Mayes said the pilot was wearing a blue jumpsuit, which is the kind worn by pilots who work for Pacific Blue Air. It is the only business that operates the Airborne XT-912 at the Hawthorne Airport.

Piper PA-28-140, N5600U, Central Oklahoma Aviation Group Inc: Incident occurred March 20, 2016 in Ardmore, Carter County, Oklahoma

Date: 20-MAR-16
Time: 21:13:00Z
Regis#: N5600U
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: None
Activity: Instruction
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA Flight Standards District Office:FAA Oklahoma City FSDO-15
State: Oklahoma



Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage, N975MA, Southworth Aircraft Inc: Accident occurred March 20, 2016 in Pflugerville, Texas


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA San Antonio FSDO-17

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA155
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 20, 2016 in Pflugerville, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/01/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA 46, registration: N975MA
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that during touch down in gusty crosswind conditions, the airplane veered off the runway to the left. He further reported when he corrected to get back onto the runway the nose gear collapsed. 

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing. 

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 directional control during the landing touchdown in gusty crosswind conditions, which resulted in runway excursion, and nose gear collapse.

Cessna 172L, VH-XZZ: Qantas international pilot Paul Whyte was cleared to fly just one month before he deliberately crashed a light plane he hired into the sea

A Qantas pilot who is believed to have deliberately crashed a light plane into the sea was cleared to fly just one month before his death.

Paul Whyte rented a light aircraft from a company at Lismore in northern NSW on Monday afternoon before later crashing it six nautical miles offshore from Byron Bay.

Despite dealing with a broken marriage, Mr Whyte passed an mental health check in February, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported. 

It has also been revealed that Mr Whyte flew a passenger plane with a capacity of 467 people from Brisbane to Los Angeles just weeks before his death.

Meantime Qantas said in a statement that it 'won't be commenting on speculation' about the cause of the tragedy while the coroner's investigation is underway.

Qantas chief pilot Richard Tobiano noted that Whyte was off duty when the crash occurred.

'As you can imagine, this is a very upsetting time for his family, friends and colleagues, and we're providing them with as much support as we can,' Tobiano said in a statement. 

Mr Whyte's death has raised questions about the frequency and efficiency of mental health checks and experts have called for the implementation of peer support systems.

'It would allow airlines to keep track of mental health on a more immediate level,' Griffith University psychiatrist Harry McConnell told the Bulletin.

Earlier it was reported Mr Whyte spoke to his daughters prior to boarding the plane, and sent a final text message to his family before crashing at 'high speed' into the water, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin. 

His rented Cessna 172 aircraft left Lismore at about 4.20pm and radar information shows all contact with the plan was lost.

Police and rescue teams launched a search for the missing pilot and his plane after he failed to return to Lismore later that night. 

The search was scaled back and police confirmed Mr Whyte's disappearance was 'not suspicious' on Wednesday afternoon. 

Qantas has confirmed Mr Whyte worked for them as a first officer.

'It is with great sadness that I confirm that an off-duty Qantas pilot was flying a light aircraft which went missing off the northern coast of New South Wales on Monday evening,' Qantas Chief Pilot, Captain Richard Tobiano told Daily Mail Australia. 

'As you can imagine this is a very upsetting time for his family, friends and colleagues, and we're providing them with as much support as we can. I ask you to respect their privacy at this time.'

Northern Rivers Aero Club president Bill Kiernan, who rented the plane to Mr Whyte, told Daily Mail Australia he knew him and didn't ask questions when he rented the plane on Monday.

'We own and have access to quite a few aeroplanes. As long as the pilots are qualified and meet CAA requirements, that's our business. Mr Whyte cert met the criteria,' he said. 

'Mr Whyte rang me and said can I have a plane, I rang my colleague and said Paul was good to go.'

Investigators are now preparing a report for the coroner following his death. 

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Paul Whyte.

The pilot who is believed to have deliberately crashed his light aircraft into the ocean was employed flying jets for Qantas.

Struggling with a broken marriage, Paul Whyte rented a light aircraft from a flying club in Lismore, made one final phone call to his daughters and disappeared into the ocean six nautical miles offshore from Byron Bay late on Monday afternoon.

Authorities refused to provide any details of the tragedy, a move which has infuriated Northern Rivers Aero Club president Bill Kiernan, the man who leased the aircraft to Mr Whyte.

Mr Kiernan told The Gold Coast Bulletin the Australian and International Pilots Association had tried to silence him, warning him not to tell anyone Mr Whyte was a Qantas pilot.

“I was warned not to say he flew for Qantas but I told them I’ll say whatever I want, because it was the truth,” he said.

“I won’t be (expletive) over by a bunch of bureaucrats.

“They need to face up to reality.

“The family knows what is going on and the worst thing about this is the innuendo — it is better to put the bullshit to rest.”

Police say he sent one final text message to his family as he plunged his Cessna 172 into a death-spiral into the waters off northern NSW.

Paul Whyte.

Qantas went silent, initially refusing to even confirm Mr Whyte worked for them.

Yesterday the national carrier eventually conceded he was employed by them but still refused to reveal when the troubled father of two last commanded a commercial flight.

Qantas also refused to answer questions about how the company looked for warning signs that pilots were flying while mentally unstable.

Yesterday the family home looked to be deserted, with the windows covered with cardboard.

A note pinned to the front door said, “Family are requesting privacy at this very sad time.”.

The revelations come one year after pilot Andreas Lubitz killed 150 people by intentionally crashing a Germanwings plane near the French Alps.

Mr Whyte’s Cessna 172 left Lismore at 4.20pm and AirServices Australia lost contact with it about 4.50pm.

NSW police believe the plane hit the ocean at “high speed” and will prepare a report for the coroner.

They also confirmed the death was “not suspicious”.

Richmond Local Area Command chief inspector Cameron Lindsay said the search for the wreckage would be difficult.

“What we’ve been told by experts is the plane was travelling at a very high speed when it impacted the water,” he said.

“It’s in a very deep part of the ocean there and is beyond the capabilities of the police divers, so now we have to look at the use of submersible vehicles.”

Mr Whyte told News Corp reporters nine years ago he moved from Sydney to a small duplex in Lennox Head to escape the rat race and “live in a society”.

Sadly, in the past 12 months he separated from his wife and moved into a rented home a few streets away from the family home.

His new next-door neighbours said they could often hear him swimming in the pool with his daughters on the rare occasion he was home.

The last person to see Mr Whyte alive described the him as “calm” and “relaxed” before he boarded the light aircraft.

Northern Rivers Aero Club pilot trainer Bob Snape said Mr Whyte casually strolled towards the runway in the afternoon, making small talk about his children.

“He was running late because he was on the phone to his daughter,” he said.

“He was really calm and relaxed and we were just casually chatting about other pilots we knew.

“It was the first time I met him but he seemed like a nice guy.”

Original article can be found here: