Friday, March 25, 2016

Centre County wildfire sneaks in ahead of airplane



BLACK MOSHANNON   -- Every year, wildfire season in Centre and Clearfield counties starts with a defining event: the arrival of an airplane at Mid State Regional Airport that will drop water on a fire that has grown beyond what can be handled on the ground.

On Thursday, however, the season came a day early.

State Bureau of Forestry officials said a wildfire broke out at about 5:30 p.m. in the Unionville area near the 1000 block of Governors Road.

“We had heavy fuel,” said fire forester Ryan Ling.

When it comes to wildfires in Pennsylvania, “fuel” doesn’t mean gasoline or kerosene. It means leaves and grass and the other dried bits of last year’s plants that litter the ground, creating something for the fire to consume.

In Union Township, the blaze consumed that fuel across 16 acres as about 70 firefighters from Centre, Clearfield and Clinton counties battled it for hours.

Ling credited the partnership between the Bureau of Forestry fire professionals and the volunteer fire companies in keeping the situation under control.

“We couldn’t do this without them,” he said.

The wildfire season starts when the snow disappears and ends when the winter-dry vegetation starts to “green-up,” or become healthy and not kindling waiting to happen. In Pennsylvania, that means that March into April, maybe the beginning of May, is the danger zone, Ling said.

That is why on Friday, the annual meeting of firefighters and foresters was capped with the arrival of the first flying tanker.

A second is due to arrive sometime in April, according to Joe Miller, air tanker base manager.

But why fight a fire from a plane?

Miller said a firefighter on the ground can handle flames up to about 4 feet high. The plane can handle flames that get up to 80 feet.

“That’s when you need air support,” he said.

Airplanes participating in the wildfire process are nothing new in Pennsylvania. Longtime forestry pro Wayne Wynick is retired this year, but he still showed up at the annual training as a volunteer. He said one of the first water drops on a fire in the country was in 1960. It wasn’t just in Pennsylvania. It was in Woodland, Clearfield County, just about 20 miles or so from Mid State.

The 800-gallon capacity aircraft will be on hand at Mid State through May 15.

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

Brantly B2B, N2266U: Accident occurred March 25, 2016 in Galena, Stone County, Missouri

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration; Kansas City, Kansas
Federal Aviation Administration;   Kansas City, Missouri
TSI; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 

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

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

Skyview AG Imaging LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N2266U

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA135
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, March 25, 2016 in Galena, MO
Aircraft: BRANTLY B 2B, registration: N2266U
Injuries: 1 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.

On March 25, 2016, about 1730 central daylight time, a Brantly B-2B helicopter, N2266U, collided with trees and terrain following a loss of control in Galena, Missouri. The pilot received serious injuries. The helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was owned and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from private property in Cape Fair, Missouri about 1715.

The pilot flew the helicopter to a restaurant located about 4 miles from the accident site, where he ate. A witness reported the pilot then started the helicopter and as it was warming up, the engine backfired. The witness reported the engine did not sound "right" to him as the helicopter took off and he thought it was going to contact the trees prior to it gaining sufficient altitude.

The pilot flew about 4 miles southeast where another witness, located across the street from the accident site, saw the helicopter. This witness stated the helicopter circled his property three times, in a clockwise direction. The second pass was about 40 to 60 ft above the trees, during which, he waved to the pilot and the pilot waved back. The helicopter looked as if it was going to land on the third pass as it was about 20 ft above the ground before it climbed out. As the helicopter climbed, the engine power sounded like it was fluctuating. He then saw the tail "dip" and the helicopter began to spin. He lost sight of the helicopter behind the trees, then heard the impact. He stated the engine of the helicopter continued to run for several minutes after the impact. This witness took several photographs of the helicopter as it circled his residence.

Another witness heard the helicopter from inside her house. She stated she went outside and saw the helicopter circle the area three times at an "unusually" low altitude. She stated the helicopter was about 20 ft above the trees in a level attitude when it started spinning to the left and descending. She also stated the engine continued to run after the impact.

The helicopter came to rest in a heavily wooded area. First responders reported the helicopter was leaking fuel when they arrived. A postaccident examination of the wreckage was conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector. The tailboom was separated from the fuselage which came to rest in a nose down attitude. The red blade was separated from the mast, and the outboard sections of all three main rotor blades were fractured and separated from the inboard sections. The main rotor shaft and planet gear assembly sustained impact damage. Continuity of the rudder control system was established and all separations appeared to be overload. No anomalies were noted that would have resulted in a loss of control or loss of engine power.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He did not hold a helicopter rating. A review of the pilot's logbook indicated he had 191.8 hours of helicopter flight time, 119.6 hours of which were logged as pilot-in-command. The pilot logged 122.6 hours in the accident make and model helicopter.

At 1850, the reported wind conditions at the Branson Airport, located 18 miles southeast of the accident site, were 110 degrees at 12 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board was subsequently notified that the pilot passed away on June 9, 2016.




CAPE FAIR, Mo. - We now know the name of the man who piloted the helicopter that crashed Friday evening.

It was former Stone County surveyor John Read. He received critical injuries after the helicopter went down in Southern Stone County about ten miles southeast of Cape Fair.

Firefighters, medical technicians, State Patrol troopers and sheriff's deputies rushed to the scene. The 69-year-old pilot Mr. Read was airlifted to the hospital.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader says Read is an experienced pilot. Radar says he had been a passenger on the man's flights. 

Original article can be found here:   http://www.ky3.com




STONE COUNTY, Mo - A man is in critical condition tonight after crashing a helicopter in Stone County. 

The crash took place earlier this evening in a rural area just outside of Reeds Spring.

The Stone County Sheriff's Department says a man flying a helicopter crashed in this wooded area along Y Highway around 5:30 Friday evening.

The crash site is about 300 feet down from the road.

You can see what appears to be marks from the blades of the helicopter striking the trees as it came down through the tree tops.

And from the wreckage you can see it's a two-seater helicopter, but we're told the pilot was flying alone.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader says the pilot's name isn't being released at this time but told us it is a local resident.

Rader said, “Just him alone in the helicopter, right now we're notifying family. He flew a lot around here, he happened to be a good friend of mine. I've actually flown with him."

Again the victim was taken to the hospital in Springfield and is currently in critical condition.

 The FAA is expected to be at the site tomorrow to investigate.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Southern Stone County Fire Protection District is reporting a single helicopter crash three miles down Y Highway in Galena.

Southern Stone County Fire Protection District got the call at 5:40 Friday evening. The helicopter was a two seater and crashed on the 3300 block of Y- Highway.

One is in critical condition and is being taken to the hospital by helicopter.

Law enforcement is on scene attempting to put out a small fire.

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





CAPE FAIR, Mo. -  A private helicopter crashed late Friday afternoon and seriously injured the pilot.  The crash was about 5:40 in southern Stone County near Highway Y at Meadowview Road. That's between Branson West on the east and and Cape Fair on the west, and between Missouri 76 on the north and Table Rock Lake on the south.

The small, private helicopter went nose down into a wooded area.  Parts littered the hillside.

Southern Stone County firefighters, medical technicians, State Highway Patrol troopers and sheriff's deputies rushed to the scene.  A helicopter ambulance took the pilot to a hospital with critical injuries.

The pilot's name has not been released, but Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader says he is an experienced pilot.  Radar says he had been a passenger on the man's flights.

Sheriff Radar says deputies secured the crash scene for the night.  He expects Federal Aviation Administration investigators will arrive Saturday morning to begin their investigation into what caused the crash.

Story and video:  http://www.ky3.com 



A man was critically injured following a helicopter crash outside of Reeds Spring, according to an official with the Southern Stone County Fire Protection District.

Public Information Officer Eric Nielsen said the fire department responded to the crash at around 5:30 p.m. Friday.

The man who was critically injured was the only person aboard the helicopter, which sat two, Nielsen said. The man was being transported to a hospital in Springfield, he said.

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

Pilots 'confused' by runway lights - Transport Accident Investigation Commission

The pilots of a LAN Airlines plane that damaged runway lights and left a trail of debris at Auckland International Airport three years ago, had become confused after relying on visual cues, an investigation has found.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has released its report into the incident, which happened on May 18,  2013.

The commission has asked the Civil Aviation Authority to check that runway lighting at all airports meets new guidelines introduced in mid-2015.

Investigator Barry Stephenson said guidance lights at the time were "potentially ambiguous".

But he said the main cause of the accident was that pilots had failed to use onboard navigational equipment to ensure they were on track.

They were still doing before take-off checks while the plane, with 196 passengers and 10 crew aboard, was taxiing to the runway.

"The pilots lost their situational awareness of where they actually were, as they were coming onto the runway. They were then lined up on the line of lights that they thought were the center line but were actually the edge lights.

"So it was the visual references they were confused by."

Fortunately the captain realized his mistake and was able to veer back onto the runway before anything more serious happened, Mr. Stephenson said.

The pilots did not report the incident to air traffic control at the time.

A routine runway inspection later that morning found that seven of the elevated runway edge lights were damaged and required replacement.

The runway was closed for 20 minutes while the debris was removed.

When the Airbus A340 was inspected after it arrived in Sydney, two of the tires were found to be damaged and had to be replaced.

Mr. Stephenson said the incident was a reminder that "entering an active runway is a critical phase and pilots must give the manoeuvre their full attention".

Original article can be found here:  http://www.radionz.co.nz

Security Privileges Allowed Flight Attendant to Escape

Within hours of ditching 70 pounds of cocaine at a security checkpoint and bolting barefoot out of the main Los Angeles airport, an off-duty flight attendant was flying across the country after clearing security at the same airport, law enforcement officials said Friday.

Marsha Gay Reynolds, 31, did not do anything out of the ordinary to get back on a plane, officials said, describing how she used an airline badge with her real name to board another flight the next morning at one of the nation's busiest airports.

Communication lapses, bureaucratic protocols and special security privileges afforded airline workers all contributed to Reynolds' remaining out of the grasp of law enforcement until she surrendered four days later at Kennedy Airport in New York.

"This is a security breakdown. That could have easily been an explosive device and a terrorist running from the checkpoint. And we wouldn't have known until it went boom," said Marshall McClain, president of the union representing LAX airport police officers.

Reynolds' escape was another embarrassing security lapse for the airport, which sought to enhance security after a gunman opened fire in a terminal in 2013 and killed a Transportation Security Administration agent.

Reynolds was off duty when she arrived March 18 at an LAX checkpoint, wearing jeans and a black suit jacket and carrying her "known crew member" badge, according to an FBI affidavit filed in support of the charge against Reynolds.

When Reynolds was chosen for a random security screening, TSA officers reported that she became nervous and made a phone call in a foreign language before she dropped her bags, kicked off her heels, ran down an upward-moving escalator and out of the airport, the affidavit said.

LAX police soon found 11 packages of cocaine wrapped in green cellophane inside one of the bags Reynolds left behind, the affidavit said. The drugs had an estimated street value of up to $3 million.

The badges allow airline workers to get through security faster to reduce lines and to allow the TSA to focus on travelers they know less about. To obtain the badges, airline workers must submit to a background check that includes fingerprinting.

Crew members do not have to be wearing uniforms or have a boarding pass when using the badges. But they are still subject to random screenings.

The fact that Reynolds was able to fly the morning after her mad dash through the airport did not particularly surprise aviation expert Jeff Price because the system is designed to catch terrorists, not criminals.

The involvement of the crew member badge "might cause the TSA to look at this program a little more closely, to see if this is going to be a problem from a terrorist perspective," Price said.

McClain, the LAX police union president, agreed that the case raises long-held fears about the "insider" threat of a terrorist gaining special access to airports and planes using the crew member program or becoming radicalized after obtaining such access.

"It's like giving someone the keys to your house, and you just made their job really easy," said Price, who has written a textbook on airport security and trains airport workers across the country.

The TSA has said that full screening of all employees would cost too much. Instead, the agency has urged airports to increase random screenings of workers and to keep background checks up to date.

No bulletin for Reynolds' arrest was immediately issued. The TSA would not have flagged Reynolds' name because she did not pose a terrorist threat, according to an airport security official with knowledge of the investigation.

The Drug Enforcement Agency did not learn about the drugs until at least five hours after Reynolds fled and did not know her name until well after she had boarded a flight to New York, according to a federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation.

Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about details of the case.

TSA spokesman Mike England said in a statement that the agency "immediately notified and began working with local law enforcement to identify the individual."

"Following events such as this, we conduct a full review of our procedures to determine how best to improve upon an already strong security foundation," he said.

The TSA did not verify Reynolds' name until at least Saturday because no one at the airport is allowed to access the database that had scanned her crew member badge at the airport, both the airport security and federal officials said.

As a result, the Los Angeles leadership of the TSA is recommending that someone with access to the database be required to be at airports across the country, the airport security official said.

The TSA declined to provide details about the crew member program, citing the investigation.

Price confirmed that no one at airports can access the database. Rather, he said, the information goes to a remote location where the database is stored.

He doubts that anybody is staffing that location on a 24-hour basis, simply because it's rare for anyone to need regular access to the database. If a crew member is turned away after a badge is scanned, that person could just go through a regular security screening, he added.

Reynolds, a former Jamaican beauty queen and New York University track athlete, faces at least 10 years in prison if convicted of the federal drug charge against her.

Her spokesman, Allan Jennings, representing her family and her defense lawyer, said she "may not have been fully aware of what was in the bags."

On Friday, a judge ordered that she be returned to Los Angeles and remain in custody at least until an April 7 hearing.

Original article can be found here:  http://abcnews.go.com

Piper PA-25-260 Pawnee, Aerial Banners, Inc., N254AB: Fatal accident occurred August 31, 2014 in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA416
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 31, 2014 in St. Petersburg, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA-25-260, registration: N254AB
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

During a banner-tow pickup, the commercial pilot reported to the tower controller that the banner-tow rope had become entangled in the rudder and that he needed to release the rope. According to witnesses, after picking up the banner, the airplane made a sharp left turn and then spiraled into the water. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the banner-tow rope had become entangled between the left elevator and horizontal stabilizer.

A review of the company training manual noted that the banner-tow rope must remain taught before the pilot deploys the hook or the rope to prevent the entanglement of the hook or rope in the tail control surfaces and restriction of movement. A review of GPS data showed that the airplane made an immediate right turn to pick up the banner while the pilot was deploying the hook. It is likely that the pilot’s improper deployment of the hook while simultaneously turning the airplane caused the entanglement of the tow rope in the elevator.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's improper deployment of the banner-tow hook, which resulted in it becoming entangled between the left elevator and horizontal stabilizer, restricted the movement of the elevator, and led to a loss of airplane control.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 31, 2014, at 1455 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-25-260, N254AB, was destroyed when it collided with water following a banner pick up at Albert Whitted Airport (SPG), St. Petersburg, Florida. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was registered to Aerial Banners North INC. and operated by Advertising Air Force as a banner tow flight. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the SPG tower controller, the airplane was cleared for takeoff from runway 7. As the airplane departed runway 7, the pilot made a right turn to the intersecting runway 18. The airplane side-stepped the runway to the left and picked up the banner. As the airplane pitched up to climb out, the pilot made a distress call before losing control, entering a downward spiral, and colliding with the water.

According to a witness, they watched as the banner tow airplane picked up the banner, and as they were attempting to read the banner the airplane suddenly made a sharp bank to the left. The witness also said that the airplane was at a high angle of attack before it "stalled" and went into a tight, nose down spin towards the water.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot, age 70, held a commercial pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane multi-engine land and sea; single-engine land, single-engine sea, and glider. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued on March 14, 2014. The pilot reported his flight experience included 2,500 total hours and 135 hours within the last six months of his medical exam. A review of company records revealed that the pilot logged a total of 591.5 hours of flight experience in the accident airplane, as of August 9, 2013.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-seat, low-wing, fixed landing gear airplane, serial number 25-7556048, was manufactured in 1974. It was powered by a Lycoming O-540-260, 260-horsepower engine, equipped with McCauley propeller. A review of maintenance work orders, the airplane's most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on June 10, 2014. The airplane's maintenance logbooks were not available for review.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The recorded weather at SPG, at an elevation of 6 feet, at 1453, included wind from 120 degrees at 5 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, clear sky, temperature 29 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature 25 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.11 inches of mercury.

COMMUNICATIONS

A review of voice transcription data obtained from the FAA revealed that the pilot contacted the SPG control tower about 1453, to request his takeoff clearance. The pilot received a clearance to depart from runway 7. Approximately two minutes later the pilot contacted the control tower and stated "got to let it go, it's caught in my rudder." There were no other transmissions made by the pilot.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage was located in Tampa Bay, 75 yards off the end of runway 18. The airplane was intact and came to rest in a flat attitude in approximately 20 feet of water.

The airplane was recovered from the bay and examination of the cockpit revealed that the floor board was buckled. The firewall was broken away from the fuselage and still attached to the engine mounts. The instrument panel and instruments were damaged from exposure to salt water. The header tank remained attached to the fuselage and the fuel cap remained locked, and contained an undetermined amount of fuel and sea water. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage and was buckled. The tail wheel assembly remained attached to the empennage. Further examination revealed that the tow hook release remained attached to the empennage assembly. The vertical and horizontal stabilizers were still attached to the empennage. The rudder and elevators remained attached to the flight surfaces at the attachment points, and the respective flight control cables were connected. The left and right aileron cables remained attached to their respective bellcranks. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit flight controls to the flight control surfaces. The main landing gear assembly was bent aft and still attached to the fuselage.

Further examination of the left horizontal stabilizer and elevator revealed markings consistent with contact with the banner rope at the attachment point between the elevator and stabilizer. The elevator trailing edge was also bent downward, and displayed similar rope markings. The banner tow rope also had grease markings from the attachment point between the elevator and stabilizer.

The right wing was attached to the fuselage at the wing root, and buckled throughout the span of the wing. The aileron and flap remained attached to the wing and were bulked. The left wing was attached to the fuselage at the wing root, and buckled throughout the span of the wing. The aileron remained attached to the wing, and the flap was broken away from one attachment point.

Examination of the engine revealed that the propeller remained attached to the crankshaft. Examination of the propeller revealed that one propeller blade was bent aft towards the fuselage. There were no discrepancies noted that would have precluded normal operation of the propeller.

Examination of the engine revealed impact damage on the bottom of the engine. The exhaust and intake manifolds were impact-damaged. The carburetor was impact-damaged and broken off the attachment point. Examination of the carburetor revealed no blockage and the throttle and mixture attachments were still connected. The spark plugs were removed to drain the water from inside the cylinders. After the water was drained, the spark plugs were examined and no anomalies were noted on the electrodes. The magnetos were removed for examination and turned by hand. The magneto couplings were heard engaging but no spark was noted due to salt water damage. The oil dipstick was removed and six quarts of oil was noted on the dipstick. The crankshaft was rotated and compression was obtained on all cylinders. Valve train continuity was also noted throughout the engine. Examination of the engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the State of Florida District Seventeen Medical Examiner, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on April 18, 2009. The autopsy report noted the cause of death as "multiple blunt trauma."

Toxicological testing was performed on the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Review of the toxicology report identified atorvastatin and quinine in liver and blood.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A review of FAA Information for Banner Tow Operations (FAA/FS-I-8700-1) noted the following in Chapter 2, "EQUIPMENT AND OPERATION SAFETY ISSUES GRAPPLE HOOK DEPLOYMENT. A crucial event during banner tow operations is the deployment of the grapple hook. The grapple hook should be released in such a manner that it, or the grapple line, does not snarl in aircraft control surfaces or landing gear, to include the tailwheel, in conventional gear configurations. The hook line must be observed to have clearance before every low approach. If the grapple line becomes snarled on the tailwheel or a control surface, a reduction in the capability of the pilot to control the airplane may occur. In a worst case scenario, movement of the rudder or elevator control surface may be limited or even jammed. Further, the pilot may not be able to release the grapple line because of the entanglement."

A review of the Aerial Banners North training manual and general operating procedures section that stated "Tossing the Hook Out" noted the following: "After takeoff or drop, level off at 400 feet at cruise power. Once clear of any populated area, unwrap the rope from around the hook, keeping the rope and simultaneously apply slight left rudder (for a toss to the left) to allow the hook to fall freely away from the aircraft. Now look back to ensure that the hook is clear of the aircraft by applying rudder pressure without losing your headset or sunglasses in the slip stream. NOTE: Ensure to keep the rope taught prior to tossing the hook out. Failure to do so can entangle the hook/rope on the elevator, rudder horn, or stabilizer brace wires. If this condition is not resolved prior to the pick, the weight/drag of the banner will cause a HOT HOOK and possible unresponsive rudder/elevator!"

A review of GPS data revealed that the airplane took off from runway 7, and immediately made a right turn to pick up the banner prior to the loss of control of the airplane.

In a statement released, Thomasson's family described him as a family man with a passion for flying. 


ST. PETERSBURG — The family of a commercial pilot who was killed in a 2014 plane crash while taking off from Albert Whitted Airport is suing the company that hired him as well as the air traffic control company that gave him clearance to take off.

The lawsuit, filed in Pinellas Circuit Court, alleges that Donald Thomasson died as a direct result of a "dangerous pick and go" maneuver that is commonplace for the company, Advertising Air Force, Inc., which hired him.

Also named as defendants are Ariel Banners, which does business with Advertising Air Force; the man who trained Thomasson on behalf of Advertising Air Force; and Orlando-based Robinson Aviation Inc., the flight controller that cleared Thomasson to take off.

The suit states that the National Transportation Safety Board found the crash occurred as a direct result of the "pick and go" maneuver.

A "pick and go" maneuver involves the pilot using a grappling hook to catch the end of a banner advertisement, which then trails behind the plane.

On Aug. 31, 2014, Thomasson's Piper PA-23 splashed into the water about 75 yards south of the airport's seawall as the plane lifted off. Thomasson was 68 and had four children.

The company's planes have been involved in at least five crashes involving banner towing in which the planes took off from Albert Whitted since 1989. Thomasson was the first fatality.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs could not be reached for comment, nor could the defendants.

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




http://registry.faa.gov/N254AB

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA416
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 31, 2014 in St. Petersburg, FL
Aircraft: PIPER PA-25-260, registration: N254AB
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 August 31, 2014, at 1455 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-25-260, N254AB, operated by Aerial Banners, Inc., was destroyed when with the pilot lost control and the airplane descended to water impact following a banner pick up at Albert Whitted Airport (SPG), St. Petersburg, Florida. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The banner-tow flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the SPG tower controller, the airplane was cleared for takeoff from runway 7. As the airplane departed runway 7, the pilot made a sharp right turn to the intersecting runway. The airplane side stepped runway 18 to the left and picked up the banner. As the airplane pitched up to climb out, the pilot made a distress call before losing control and entering a downward spiral and colliding with the water.

According to a witness, they watched as the banner tow airplane picked up the banner. As they were attempting to read the banner, the airplane suddenly made a sharp bank to the left. The witness went on to say that the airplane was at a high angle of attack, stalled and went into a tight nose down spin towards the water.

The airplane impacted the water and sank in approximately 15 feet of water off of the departure end of runway 18.

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






Previous Accident:  August 12, 2010
http://dms.ntsb.gov/N254AB

http://www.ntsb.gov/N254AB

NTSB Identification: ERA10CA417 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 12, 2010 in St. Petersburg, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/11/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-25-260, registration: N254AB
Injuries: 1 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.

According to the pilot, he departed with the airplane's fuel tank full (75 gallons) for the local banner towing flight. He flew for about 3 hours and 30 minutes and then initiated a return to the airport. During the return flight, at an altitude of approximately 1,000 feet, the airplane's engine lost power. Just prior to the power loss, while the airplane was in a climb, the pilot noted that the fuel gauge indicated 30 gallons of fuel remained. The pilot released the banner and performed a forced landing on a road.

A postaccident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed approximately 8-10 ounces of fuel remained in the single main fuel tank. The main fuel feed line at the bottom of the fuel tank fuel valve contained a few ounces of fuel. The fuel tank was filled with 30 gallons of fuel to test the accuracy of the fuel gauge, which read 33 gallons of fuel. The engine was test run on the airframe. It started and ran at full power with no anomalies noted. According to the airplane's Operating Handbook, the engine burns an average of 14-16 gallons of fuel per hour, at power settings likely used by the pilot. The fueler who fueled the airplane stated that he filled the airplane to a capacity of 68 gallons of fuel, which is what the pilot specifically requested. The examination revealed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

According to the pilot, he departed with full fuel (75 gallons) in the airplane, for the local banner towing flight. He flew for about 3 hours and 30 minutes, and then initiated a return to the airport. During the return flight, at an altitude of approximately 1,000 feet, the airplane's engine lost power. Just prior to the power loss, while the airplane was in a climb, the pilot noted that the fuel gauge indicated 30 gallons of fuel remained. The pilot released the banner and performed a forced landing to a road. Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation (FAA) inspector revealed approximately 8-10 ounces of fuel in the single main fuel tank. The main fuel feed line at the bottom of the fuel tank fuel valve contained a "few ounces" of fuel. The fuel tank was filled with 30 gallons of fuel to test the accuracy of the fuel gauge, which read 33 gallons of fuel. The engine was test run on the airframe. It started and ran at full power with no anomalies noted. According to the Piper PA-25 Pilot Operating Handbook, the airplane's engine burned an average of 14-16 gallons of fuel per hour, at a power setting of 24 inches of manifold pressure and 2400 RPM. The fueler who fueled the airplane stated he filled the airplane to a capacity of 68 gallons of fuel, which is what the pilot specifically requested.


The pilot of the Piper PA-25-260 Pawnee, Aerial Banners, Inc., N254AB plane that made an emergency landing August 12, 2010 sits next to his aircraft on Tyrone Boulevard in St. Petersburg. 

Russellville Regional Airport (KRUE) fuel sales take-off; up 21 percent

Members of the Russellville Regional Airport Commission learned during their monthly meeting Tuesday that February fuel sales climbed 21.59 percent over the month of January.

Airport Director Keith Frazier said 11,530 total gallons of aviation gas and jet fuel in February, compared to 4,289 in January. He said February was a good month because of the weekend fly-in and higher corporate and charter traffic.

Commissioner Dwight Talburt thanked the Russellville Police Department (RPD) for providing one of its Ford Crown Victorias to the airport as a courtesy vehicle. He said it will make a nice addition for the airport.

The commission voted to recommend the purchase of a new cab and chassis for a Jet A fuel truck and refurbish the tank and delivery system from the existing fuel truck to be mounted on the new cab and chassis. A gasoline-powered engine was preferred over a diesel engine. Commissioners also voted to recommend the purchase of a side-by-side all-terrain utility vehicle for the airport to replace a Ford Ranger pickup.

The airport is still in a holding pattern on a grant for the proposed taxiway extension project. Bob Chatman from Miller Newell Engineers said if the project is funded by the FAA, it will fall under the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program grants which are 90 percent funded by the FAA and a 10 percent matching grant from the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics.

Frazier gave updates on presentations he made to the Advertising & Promotion (A&P) Commission and West Central Planning and Development District on funding for airport vehicles and the FBO renovation project. He received a $1,835 grant from the A&P pending approval for the reset of the $3,920 from the City Council. Frazier said he would address the Finance Committee during its April 12 meeting.

Commissioners also discussed future hangar development and relocating some of the open hangars and the removal of the remaining open shade hangars. This would open up the ramp space for current and future needs in handling corporate and business aircraft while still providing space for current occupants.

The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 26.

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

Man accused of purposely flying drone near Charlotte police helicopter

CHARLOTTE — Authorities arrested a man they accuse of purposely flying a drone near a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police helicopter as it tracked a wanted suspect early Thursday.

The helicopter pilot had to “immediately and abruptly” alter the helicopter’s flight path to avoid a mid-air collision with the drone, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said in a news release.

At approximately 12:40 a.m., officers were using the helicopter to help search for a suspect who was running from police. The pilot was notified by officers on the ground that a man had launched a drone in the area at about the same altitude and flight path as the helicopter.

Christopher Baucom, 26, initially refused officers’ orders to land the drone, the release states. After speaking further with officers, he eventually landed it.

The drone was of such a size that it is required to be registered with the FAA, and flying drones at night is prohibited.

Police said Baucom refused to provide officers with a drone registration or personal identification, and told officers that he did not need to comply with their requests to do so.

Officers charged him with interference with manned aircraft by unmanned aircraft system (felony) and resist (misdemeanor), the release states.

Baucom had been listening to a scanner and told officers that he drove to the scene to take video footage of the helicopter as it worked the call, the release states.

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

Incident occurred March 25, 2016 at Topeka Regional Airport (KFOE), Shawnee County, Kansas



TOPEKA (KSNT) — A car crashed through the fence in the Topeka Regional Airport early Friday morning, sending one person to the hospital with life threatening injuries.

Officers with the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a rollover accident at 2:05 in the 5800 block of SE Adams St.

Personnel from the 190th Air Refueling Wing, Kansas Air National Guard reported that a vehicle had struck a fence and overturned to the east of the airport.

When deputies arrived they determined a 2011 black Jeep Wrangler was southbound on SE Adams when it failed to negotiate a curve. The vehicle left the roadway and came to rest on MTAA property.

Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones tells KSNT News the driver was the only occupant and was transported to a Topeka hospital with possible life-threatening injuries.

The driver was was an adult male. He was not wearing a seatbelt.

Original article can be found here:  http://ksnt.com

Incident occurred March 25, 2016 at Van Nuys Airport (KVNY), Los Angeles County, California



VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Authorities arrested a man who pushed his way through a secure gate at the Van Nuys Airport and crashed into a parked aircraft Friday morning.

Around 10:30 a.m., a suspect went through a locked security gate on the east side of the airport. The driver went across the field, heading west, and then hit a parked single-engine aircraft.

The man stopped at that point and airport police detained him for questioning. Authorities said he appeared disoriented. He was then arrested and turned over to Los Angeles police.

No injuries were reported. The plane and gate were damaged, but it was unclear to what extent.

Airport manager Jess Romo said the incident was not terrorist oriented. No further information was immediately available.

Original article can be found here:   http://abc7.com



A pickup truck crashed through a locked perimeter fence at the general aviation Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles and struck a parked small plane.

Airport manager Jess Romo says no one was injured the 10:30 a.m. Friday incident and the driver was quickly arrested by police.

Romo says the driver was described as appearing to be disoriented.

The airport manager says the pickup crashed through the perimeter on the east side of the airport and continued west, crossing both parallel runways before hitting a single-engine propeller plane. Romo says he's not aware of any flights being affected.

Both the truck and plane were damaged.

Serving private, corporate and government aviation, Van Nuys Airport is located in the San Fernando Valley. It has more than 217,000 takeoffs and landings annually.

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



A person driving erratically rammed a pickup truck through a fence at Van Nuys Airport and struck a parked aircraft on Friday, officials said.

The incident occurred around 10:30 a.m. after reports of a person who was driving on the service road at the airport, located in the 16000 block of Sherman Way, according to Jess Romo, manager of the Van Nuys Airport.

The driver involved gained access through an unauthorized perimeter gate and pushed through, Romo said. The driver then sped across the other side of the aiport and struck an aircraft.

The driver, who appeared disoriented, was detained after gaining entry, Romo said.

It is unknown if drugs or alcohol were involved. Authorities were investigating the collision. 

No injures were reported.

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

Mooney M20J 201, N1149T, Or & Wil LLC: Incident occurred March 24, 2016 at Spruce Creek Fly-In Airpark (7FL6), Port Orange, Volusia County, Florida

Or & Wil LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N1149T 



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —A lawn care worker was clipped by a plane as it took off at a Port Orange fly-in community.

The private plane hit the worker shortly after 10:30 a.m. Thursday, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

The man was struck by the plane's right wing as it was taxiing through the Spruce Creek neighborhood, deputies said.

The man was taken to a local hospital after complaining of back pain. His injuries are non-like-threatening.

The plane sustained minor damage to the wing.

Story and video:  http://www.wesh.com



(WESH) - A Florida man is recovering after he was struck by a landing plane.

Part of the single-engine plane's wing was visibly damaged by the accident Thursday at Spruce Creek Fly-In Airpark near Port Orange.

Larry Kooney said his son, Larry Kooney, II, 42, is still in the hospital, recovering from the injuries.

"He came and said, 'Larry just got hit by a plane,' and as a father, you know, my reaction was pretty distraught at the time," the elder Kooney said.

Kooney said there was no warning and that his son, who had his back to the plane and was wearing ear protection, never saw or heard the plane coming. He said he is thankful his son is alive.

"There were several pieces of plexiglass on the ground which came off. That's how hard the plane hit him. It actually broke pieces of the plane," Kooney said.

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




A landscape contractor working near a taxiway at Spruce Creek in Port Orange was taken to the hospital Thursday after being clipped by a plane, Spruce Creek Property Owners Association said.

The contractor was wearing a headset at the time, the Association said in an email to residents.

“SCPOA greatly urges all to stop, look, listen and be sure all is clear when near the taxiways,” the email said. “Please, please, please do not wear ear buds, earplugs, headsets or anything else that may impact your ability to hear aircraft.”

The contractor was unable to move after being hit and was taken to the hospital, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said..

His condition was not immediately available.

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

Piper PA-28-181, N445PA, Bird Acquisition LLC : Incident occurred March 25, 2016 in Gila Bend, Maricopa County, Arizona

Date: 25-MAR-16
Time: 04:01:00Z
Regis#: N445PA
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: GILA BEND
State: Arizona

AIRCRAFT CRASHED DURING LANDING. GILA BEND, AZ

BIRD ACQUISITION LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N445PA

New Flight School at Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport (KOWB) to Bring Jobs and International Students

Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport is getting a new flight school that trains pilots for Chinese airlines.

Apus Air announced this week that it is constructing a flight training center at the airport. The project will create 35 jobs.

CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation Madison Silvert says the regional airport is a perfect fit for the company’s needs. 

 “They were looking for an airport that had the right balance of runway links and amenities and low traffic so they could provide a confident environment for new trainees,” says Silvert.

The California-based company is making an investment $1.65 million in the new facility.

Silvert says the flight training center also other benefits for the region.

“It’ll bring a number of new international visitors and residents here for upwards of sometimes a few years,” says Silvert. “This is a community that continues to see the value in diversity and having a diverse workforce.”

Silvert says the flight school will not have a negative impact on commercial flights at the airport. On the positive side, the training center will add to air traffic counts that help maintain funding for the control tower.

Original article can be found here:  http://wkyufm.org

Cessna 335, N335PW: Incident occurred March 21, 2016 in Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts

Date: 21-MAR-16
Time: 18:30:00Z
Regis#: N335PW
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 335
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: SPRINGFIELD
State: Massachusetts

DURING LANDING THE AIRCRAFT WENT OFF THE SIDE OF THE RUNWAY STRIKING A BERM. SPRINGFIELD, MA

http://registry.faa.gov/N335PW

Diamond DA20-C1 Eclipse, 4X-CXC: Fatal accident occurred March 25, 2016 near Haifa, Israel

IDF Brig.-Gen. Munir Amar.
 (photo credit:COORDINATION OF GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES IN THE TERRITORIES)




Story, video and photo gallery: http://www.ynet.co.il


IDF Brig.-Gen. Munir Amar, 47,  was named as the pilot who died Friday when the light plane he was operating crashed into a mountainside in the North near the Misgav region. 

Amar served as the head of the COGAT Civil Administration in the West Bank and previously served as a former battalion commander in the predominantly Druze "Herev" Brigade.

Amar was manning a private civilian flight when the crash occurred.

His aircraft departed from Haifa and crashed about a quarter of an hour after takeoff. 

After the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) reported lost contact with the aircraft in the Lower Galilee region, police began searches for it. 

According to initial reports, Amar was alone in the plane. 

Less than an hour later the aircraft was located on the southern side of Mount Kamon. 

Magen David Adom reported that there was no ground vehicle access to the site of the crash, and that Air Force personnel arrived on foot to the downed plane.

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