Monday, March 28, 2016

JetBlue, Alaska Air Bidding for Virgin America: Takeover offers due by end of week in what could signal next wave of airline consolidation

The Wall Street Journal
By Susan Carey, Robert Wall and Dana Mattioli
March 28, 2016 8:29 p.m. ET


Low-fare startup Virgin America Inc. may soon have a new owner.

Takeover offers from two other U.S. airlines— JetBlue Airways Corp. and Alaska Air Group Inc. —are due by the end of the week, according to a person familiar with the matter, in what could signal the latest wave of consolidation in the industry. A preferred buyer could emerge as early as this week, the person said, though a final deal could take longer to complete. The details of the potential offers couldn’t be determined.

The possible takeover of Virgin, a small, San Francisco-based carrier, suggests consolidation in the industry is moving to the regional carriers and ultradiscounters after mergers between 2008 and 2013 combined eight big carriers into four, which now control more than 80% of the U.S. domestic market. The four, in order of size by U.S. traffic, are American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co.

Virgin America, based in Burlingame, Calif., near San Francisco International Airport, was launched in 2007 and was a steady money-loser until 2013, when it started turning itself around by slowing its breakneck growth and filling more of its seats with higher fares.

Virgin America, now the ninth-largest U.S. airline by traffic, recently started expanding. It took five new Airbus planes in 2015, has five more coming this year and recently ordered 10 more. The company, which has a market capitalization of $1.7 billion, has launched service to Hawaii, expanded into Denver and Dallas and has added flights out of Los Angeles.

But its chief executive, David Cush, has complained the company can’t get the gates or slots it needs to grow freely. Part of the problem, he has said, is that all the mergers have winnowed opportunities for smaller carriers.

The takeover talks were reported earlier by Bloomberg.

Virgin America went public in November 2014, and its founding shareholders, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group Ltd. and New York-based investment adviser Cyrus Capital Partners LP, still control about 54% of the shares.

Helane Becker, an analyst with Cowen & Co., said those large holders could be seeking to monetize their investment.

She added that JetBlue would make the most sense for Virgin from an aircraft, network and product-offering perspective. JetBlue, the No. 5 U.S. airline by traffic, operates the same types of narrow-body Airbus A320s as Virgin America. The two compete on some major transcontinental routes. JetBlue also has a reputation for offering superior service at relatively low fares.

The person familiar with the matter said JetBlue would be seeking to boost its West Coast presence by buying Virgin America. Alaska’s Alaska Airlines unit was interested in boosting the price passengers paid for their tickets in its existing markets, this person said.

Alaska Air Group, the parent of Alaska Airlines, is the No. 6 U.S. carrier by traffic. The Seattle based-company, which has been around for more than 80 years, hasn’t made major airline acquisitions since the 1980s.

Under U.S. regulations, a foreign carrier would be limited to buying just 25% of Virgin America, although its voting share could go up to 49%. Virgin Group and Cyrus had to redo their initial plans for the equity in the new airline to satisfy U.S. regulators.

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

Piper PA-44-180 Seminole, N923RS, ATP Aircraft 2 LLC: Fatal accident occurred March 24, 2014 in Brunswick, Georgia

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

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

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

Aviation Accident Data Summary  - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

ATP AIRCRAFT 2 LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N923RS

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA168
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, March 24, 2014 in Brunswick, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/28/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA-44-180, registration: N923RS
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

The pilots of the twin-engine airplane were conducting a cross-country instrument flight rules (IFR) flight. Although both pilots were instrument-rated and IFR-current, the right seat pilot had only 8.8 hours of actual instrument experience, and the left seat pilot had only 1.8 hours of actual instrument experience. While en route and likely operating in IFR conditions, radio and radar contact were lost after the airplane entered a descending, 180-degree right turn. Examination of the wreckage at the accident site revealed signatures consistent with an in-flight breakup of the airframe. The horizontal situation indicator (the only vacuum-system-driven flight instrument that was recovered) exhibited signatures showing that it was likely not operational when the airplane impacted the ground. Both of the engine-driven vacuum pumps exhibited fractured rotors. Although physical examination of the vacuum pumps could not determine whether the rotors fractured before or during impact, the inoperative horizontal situation indicator suggests that both pumps had failed before the impact.

The operator reported that the vacuum pump mounted to the airplane’s right engine was not operational before the airplane was dispatched on the accident flight and that the pilots had been advised of this deficiency. The operator used the Part 91 minimum equipment limitations for flights, which permitted dispatching the airplane with only one of the two engine-driven vacuum pumps operational. However, the Federal Aviation Administration’s master minimum equipment list for the airplane for Part 91 operators, advises operators to limit the airplane to daytime visual flight rules flights when only one of the two vacuum pumps is operational. The operator’s decision to dispatch the airplane with a known mechanical deficiency and no operational limitations reduced the safety margin for the flight and directly contributed to the accident.

It is likely that the left vacuum pump failed en route rendering the vacuum-driven flight instruments inoperative. Given the pilots’ minimal flight experience operating in IFR conditions combined with the difficulty of detecting and responding to the loss of attitude information provided by the vacuum-driven flight instruments, it is likely that the pilots became spatially disoriented and lost control of the airplane, resulting in the subsequent inflight breakup. No definitive determination could be made as to which of the two pilots was acting as pilot-in-command of the airplane at the time of the loss of control.

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

An inflight failure of the airplane's only operating vacuum pump, which resulted in the loss of attitude information provided by vacuum-driven flight instruments. Also causal was the pilots' failure to maintain control of the airplane while operating in instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions, likely due to spatial disorientation, following the failure of the vacuum pump. Contributing to the accident was the operator's decision to dispatch the airplane with a known inoperative vacuum pump into IFR conditions.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On March 24, 2014, about 1738 Eastern Daylight Time, a Piper PA-44-180, N923RS, was destroyed during an inflight breakup and subsequent impact with terrain near Brunswick, Georgia. The flight departed from the Concord Regional Airport (JQF), Concord, North Carolina, about 1551 and was destined for Jacksonville Executive Airport at Craig (CRG), Jacksonville, Florida. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The two private pilots were fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records and Lockheed Martin Flight Service records, the pilot seated in the right seat filed and IFR flight plan with an intended departure time of 1530, and had requested an enroute cruise altitude of 8,000 feet above mean sea level (msl).

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to FAA and operator records, the right seat pilot, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. He held an FAA first-class medical certificate, issued February 4, 2014, with no limitations. At the time of the medical examination, the pilot reported 73 total hours of flight experience and no flight experience within the 6 months prior to the medical application. The pilot's logbook was located within the wreckage and the last recorded entry was dated March 24, 2014, and indicated a flight from JQF to CRG, in a different PA-44-180. Including that entry, the total recorded flight time was 155.3 flight hours and 8.8 hours of actual instrument flight experience.

According to FAA and operator records, the pilot seated in the left front seat held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land , and instrument airplane He held a FAA first-class medical/student pilot certificate issued May 20, 2013, with no limitations. At the time of the medical examination the pilot reported no previous flight experience. The pilot's logbook was located within the wreckage and the last recorded entry was dated March 23, 2014, and indicated a flight from Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB), Daytona Beach, Florida, to JQF. Including that entry, the total recorded flight time was 163.7 flight hours and 1.8 hours of actual instrument flight experience.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA and airplane maintenance records, the airplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on August 19, 1976, and was originally registered to ATP Aircraft 2, LLC on January 29, 2008. It was powered by a Lycoming O-360-E1A6D and LO-360-E1A6D engines. The airplane was not equipped with an autopilot, nor was it required to be. According to the operator, the last recorded Hobbs meter entry was 2,290.6 flight hours, which correlated to an airframe total time of 6,664.3 hours.

According to maintenance records, the left engine vacuum pump was installed on May 13, 2011, with a recorded Hobbs time of 1,082.8 hours. The right engine vacuum pump was installed on August 31, 2013, with a recorded Hobbs time of 2,118.1 hours; however, the unit's serial number in the maintenance logbook did not coincide with the serial number on the vacuum pump in the accident airplane. According to the operator, the right vacuum pump that was actually installed on the airplane had been installed on January 24, 2014; however, the information submitted to the NTSB did not contain a serial number nor was the information located within the airplane's maintenance logbooks provided by the operator. The Airworthiness Approval Tag, associated with the right vacuum pump, that was at the accident scene, indicated that it had been overhauled on June 18, 2013.

According to maintenance records for the accident airplane, the right engine vacuum pump had accumulated about 65 total hours since overhaul. However, information provided by the operator also revealed that this vacuum pump was noted as inoperative and placarded in accordance with Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 91.213(d) and their maintenance procedures prior to the accident flight. The operator further determined to have the airplane flown to the maintenance facility at CRG to repair the inoperative vacuum pump. Additionally, the pilots had been verbally advised of this discrepancy and were provided the opportunity to refuse the airplane, prior to departing on the accident flight. According to a representative of the operator, no flight limitations existed, for their airplane, for an inoperative vacuum pump beyond those prescribed by applicable FARs and the airplane Pilot's Operating Handbook.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1755 recorded weather observation at Brunswick Golden Isle Airport (BQK), Brunswick, Georgia, located approximately 3.5 miles to the west southwest of the accident location, included wind from 050 degrees at 10 knots with gusts up to 16 knots, visibility 10 miles, overcast clouds at 3,800 feet above ground level (agl), temperature 12 degrees C, dew point 7 degrees C; and barometric altimeter setting of 30.08 inches of mercury.

The regional radar mosaic from the University Center for Atmospheric Research for 1745 indicated an area of very light intensity echoes in the vicinity of Brunswick, Georgia, in the range of 5 to 15 dBZ.

Sounding

The Jacksonville (KJAX), Florida 2000 upper air sounding, located approximately 50 miles south of the accident site indicated the freezing level was at 10,000 feet, and implied no in-flight icing in the vicinity. The lifted condensation level (LCL) or approximate base of the clouds was at 1,580 feet agl, with the relative humidity greater than 80% from the LCL to approximately 6,300 feet which supported low stratiform clouds. The sounding indicated a defined low-level frontal inversion from 2,500 to 3,800 feet with a marked change in wind direction and a high probability of moderate turbulence at 3,800 feet. The Lifted Index (LI) was 12, and indicated a stable atmosphere. The wind profile indicated light northeasterly winds at the surface with a low-level wind maximum at 2,000 feet from 060 degrees at 26 knots, with wind veering rapidly to the south above the inversion, and then veering to the southwest and west by 10,000 feet. The mean wind was from 270 degrees at 27 knots. A defined jetstream was over the regions with the maximum wind located above the tropopause at 38,000 feet with wind from 270 degrees at 140 knots.

Satellite imagery

The GOES-13 infrared image at 1745 indicated a layer of low to mid-level stratocumulus to nimbostratus type clouds with a radiative cloud top temperature of 256 Kelvin or -17 C, which indicated cloud tops near 20,000 feet. No defined cumulonimbus clouds were identified in the vicinity of the accident site.

Weather Briefing

The pilot obtained a preflight weather briefing prior to departure from a qualified Direct User Access Terminal System (DUATS) provider at 1516, and filed an IFR flight plan through ForeFlight.com with Lockheed Martin Flight Service. While enroute, he also contacted Flight Watch at 1647:32, obtained the latest weather for the destination, obtained the updated AIRMET (Airman's Meteorological Information) Sierra for IFR conditions over Florida, and issued a pilot report (PIREP). The report indicated that the flight was 11.8 miles southeast of Barnwell Regional Airport (BNL), Barnwell, South Carolina; the PIREP indicated 10 miles visibility, no turbulence, no visible weather, and light haze. The recording ended at 1652:28.

COMMUNICATION

According to recorded air traffic control communications provided by the FAA, the flight contacted Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) at 1727:23 and reported their altitude as 8,000 feet. The controller then provided the flight with the local altimeter setting. At 1727:32 the flight confirmed the altimeter setting, and no further communications from the flight were received. Several attempts to contact the accident flight were conducted between 1739:27 and 1740:36, all of which were met with no recorded response.

The ARTCC controller solicited assistance from another nearby airplane to fly in the vicinity of the last radar return to see if the accident airplane could be located. The ARTCC controller reported to the other airplane that the accident flight was "…at eight thousand in your vicinity uh I uh saw him go down about three hundred feet and then uh completely lost him on radar I don't know if it was full electrical failure or what but I lost him right over the golden isles airport." At 1743:14 the other airplane stated "I'm gonna need you to descend me to probably two thousand five hundred so I can get out of the clouds." At 1745:07 the ARTCC controller reported to the other airplane "…he was just east of the golden isles airport southbound at eight and then uh I showed him at three hundred feet low and then uh I I lost * (everything didn't even get a) primary on him." All further reported communication revealed that the accident flight was unable to be located and no ELT was audibly observed.

RADAR DATA

Review of radar data provided by the FAA revealed that the flight was cruising at an indicated an altitude of 8,000 feet above mean sea level (msl). The subsequent four recorded radar targets, which occurred over a span of 38 seconds, indicated a recorded altitude of 7,900 feet to 7,200 feet msl. The last recorded radar data, at 1738:10, indicated an altitude of 0 feet and was in the vicinity of the accident location. The last four radar targets, that indicated an altitude above 7,000 feet msl, were consistent with a descending right 180-degree turn.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was found in a marsh area, in about 15 feet of water. The main wreckage was located inverted at N 31:16.793, W 081:24.687 at an elevation of 4 feet msl. The debris path was about 2 miles in length and along a linear path. The engines remained attached to the airplane with lines and cables, and were co-located with the main wreckage. The wreckage debris path was oriented on 225 degree magnetic heading from the main wreckage, which was located on a 130 degree magnetic heading and about one-half mile from the last radar return. Both outboard wing sections were located about nine-tenths of a mile from the main wreckage and the vertical stabilizer was located about 2 miles from the main wreckage.

Examination of the recovered airframe and flight control system components revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions. Examination of the engines revealed both vacuum pump shafts (coupling) were sheared; however, no other evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions were noted. The only recovered air-driven gyroscopic flight instrument was the horizontal situation indicator (HSI), which exhibited minimal damage to the housing and no evidence of crush damage. Disassembly of the gyro found no scoring or rotational damage to the pendulous vane housing or rotating assembly. A detailed "Airframe and Engine On-Scene Examination Report" with accompanying pictures is contained in the public docket for this investigation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the right seat pilot on March 27, 2014, by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, as requested by the Glynn County Coroner. The autopsy findings included "Multiple Injuries due [to] Aircraft Accident." The report listed the specific injuries.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the right seat pilot, by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated no carbon monoxide was detected in blood (cavity), no ethanol was detected in Vitreous, and no drugs were detected in the urine.

An autopsy was performed on the left seat pilot on March 27, 2014, by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, as requested by the Glynn County Coroner. The autopsy findings included "Multiple Injuries due [to] Aircraft Accident." The report listed the specific injuries.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the left seat pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated no carbon monoxide was detected in blood (cavity), no ethanol or drugs were detected in the urine.

TEST AND RESEARCH

Both vacuum pumps were found attached to their respective attachment point on the rear of each engine. Examination of the pumps found both drive shafts sheared and salt deposits were noted throughout the units.

According to maintenance records for the accident airplane, the left engine vacuum pump had accumulated 1,207.8 total hours since overhaul. The pump was disassembled and examined for wear marks indicative of rotor motion in contact with the housing. The rotor was found fractured in multiple locations, and cracks were present on 4 of the 6 slots and a transverse crack was present across the hole on one of the rotor flanges. The forward and aft faces of the rotor were examined for wear marks indicative of rotor motion as it contacted the housing. These rotor faces exhibited dents and wear consistent with non-rotational or stationary contact with adjacent components. However, on the interior of the housing, there was evidence of circumferential wear marks, consistent with contact during rotation.

The pump was disassembled and circumferential score marks were observed on the interior surface of the rotor center hole. The fracture surfaces of the rotor were consistent with brittle overstress fracture and were consistent with multiple crack initiations locations. Horizontal and vertical sliding marks were present on the faces of the vanes and were consistent with sliding of the vanes that occurred during rotational operation of the rotor.

The examination also noted that the widths of the vanes in the left vacuum pump were less than, and inconsistent when compared to, the width of the vanes in the right vacuum pump.

Replacement Aircraft Parts Co. (RAPCO), Inc "Shear Coupling Force Failure Report," dated August 28, 2008, was a report of shear mode characteristics of the shear coupling after a simulated in flight vacuum pump failure. The report listed four independent force shear failures of the coupler. The four tests were conducted with the same testing sequence and the only change being the post failure run time. Post failure run times were 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, and 5 minutes. The report revealed in part "each of the samples shows some melting of the base material after failure. As the run times after failure increase with each different sample the melting of the base material becomes more severe. This is due to the increase exposure to heat." The left engine vacuum pump exhibited melting of the base material similar to the melting noted in both the 30 seconds and 1 minute post-failure run time components. However, the investigation could not conclusively determine how long the left engine vacuum pump operated after the coupling was sheared.

ORGANIZATIONAL AND MANAGEMENT INFORMATION

At the time of the accident, the operator of the accident airplane, Airline Transport Professionals, Inc., also known as ATP USA. Inc., conducted flight training with 38 training centers located in 18 states, and operated a fleet of 266 aircraft. The fleet consisted of various airplanes, including 104 Piper PA-44 airplanes. The accident pilots were currently flying out of the Jacksonville, Florida, base. ATP also had six maintenance centers and utilized contract maintenance providers located within the United States, of which, one of those maintenance centers was located in Jacksonville, Florida. The operator's corporate headquarters was also located in Jacksonville, Florida.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

RAPCO Service Letter

According to the manufacturer of the vacuum pumps, all overhauled units do not contain an inspection port cavity and the most recent overhaul inspection record revealed that the left vacuum pump was overhauled at the manufacturer's facility on February 8, 2008, and the right vacuum pump was overhauled at the manufacturer's facility on June 18, 2013.

Service Letter RASL-005, with a revision date of October 6, 2010, contained guidance to clarify the recommended replacement intervals of new and overhauled pneumatic vacuum pumps. The Service Letter noted that the left and right vacuum pumps had a time in service life limit of 500 flight hours, or 6 years from the date of installation. Upon reaching the service life limit, the manufacturer specified that the pump should be replaced.

Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25)

The FAA's Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge contained guidance which stated that "under normal flight conditions, when there is a visual reference to the horizon and ground, the sensory system in the inner ear helps to identify the pitch, roll, and yaw movements of the airplane. When visual contact with the horizon is lost, the vestibular system becomes unreliable. Without visual references outside the airplane, there are many situations where combinations of normal motions and forces can create convincing illusions that are difficult to overcome."

The Handbook also advised, "unless a pilot has many hours of training in instrument flight, flight in reduced visibility or at night when the horizon is not visible should be avoided."

The Handbook further stated that "it is important to monitor vacuum pressure during flight, because the attitude and heading indicators may not provide reliable information when suction pressure is low. The vacuum, or suction, gauge generally is marked to indicate the normal range. Some airplanes are equipped with a warning light that illuminates when the vacuum pressure drops below the acceptable level."

Spatial Disorientation

According to the FAA Instrument Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-15A), Chapter 11 "Emergency Operations," stated "Factors that reduce [situational awareness] include: distractions, unusual or unexpected events, complacency, high workload, unfamiliar situations, and inoperative equipment. In some situations, a loss of [situational awareness] may be beyond a pilot's control. For example, a pneumatic system failure and associated loss of the attitude and heading indicators could cause a pilot to find his or her aircraft in an unusual attitude."

The FAA publication Medical Facts for Pilots (AM-400-03/1), described several vestibular illusions associated with the operation of aircraft in low visibility conditions. Somatogyral illusions, those involving the semicircular canals of the vestibular system, were generally placed into one of four categories, one of which was the "graveyard spiral." According to the text, the graveyard spiral, "…is associated with a return to level flight following an intentional or unintentional prolonged bank turn. For example, a pilot who enters a banking turn to the left will initially have a sensation of a turn in the same direction. If the left turn continues (~20 seconds or more), the pilot will experience the sensation that the airplane is no longer turning to the left. At this point, if the pilot attempts to level the wings this action will produce a sensation that the airplane is turning and banking in the opposite direction (to the right). If the pilot believes the illusion of a right turn (which can be very compelling), he/she will reenter the original left turn in an attempt to counteract the sensation of a right turn. Unfortunately, while this is happening, the airplane is still turning to the left and losing altitude.

Pulling the control yoke/stick and applying power while turning would not be a good idea–because it would only make the left turn tighter. If the pilot fails to recognize the illusion and does not level the wings, the airplane will continue turning left and losing altitude until it impacts the ground."

Piper PA-44 Maintenance Manual

Section 3 "Scheduled Maintenance" prescribes a checklist to be utilized for inspections every 50 and/or 100 hours. Subsection B.36 states "Inspect and operationally test vacuum pumps and lines." It further requires that the vacuum pump installed on each engine was to be inspected every 100 hours. Note 7 further stated "Replace or overhaul, as required, or at engine overhaul."

Piper PA-44 Pilot Operating Handbook

Section 7.19 "Vacuum System" stated in part "The vacuum system operates the air-driven gyro instruments. The vacuum system consists of a vacuum pump on each engine, plus plumbing and regulating equipment…A shear drive protects the engine from damage. If the drive shears, the gyros will become inoperative. The vacuum gauge mounted on the right instrument panel to the right of the radios, provides valuable information to the pilot about the operation of the vacuum system… (a low vacuum indicator light is provided in the annunciator panel)…In the event of any gauge variation from the norm, the pilot should have a mechanic check the system to prevent possible damage to the system components or eventual failure of the system…A vacuum regulator is provided in the system to protect the gyros. The valve is set so the normal vacuum reads 4.8 to 5.2 inches of mercury…"

According to Section 3 "Emergency Procedures" has a section with "Gyro Suction Failures" which stated:
"Suction below 4.5 in. Hg
RPM Increase to 2700
Altitude descend to maintain 4.5 in. Hg [Suction]
Use electric turn indicator to monitor Directional Indicator and Attitude Indicator performance"

Review of the POH revealed no Equipment List for the pilot to reference in regards to inoperative equipment, nor was one required.

Piper PA-44 Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) "FOR PART 91 OPERATIONS ONLY!"

According to the FAA Piper PA-44 MMEL Revision 6, dated January 23, 2003, "The MMEL includes all items of installed equipment that are permitted to be inoperative. Equipment required by the FAR, and optional equipment in excess of FAR requirements, included with appropriate conditions and limitations…it is incumbent on the operator to endeavor to determine if O [Operations] and/or M [Maintenance] procedures for that equipment must be developed…the MMEL is intended to permit operations with inoperative items of equipment for the minimum period of time necessary until repairs can be accomplished. It is important that repairs be accomplished at the earliest opportunity in order to return the aircraft to its design level of safety and reliability…Operators are responsible for exercising the necessary operational control to ensure that an acceptable level of safety is maintained."

According to Section 37 "VACUUM/PRESSURE," sequence title "1. Vacuum Pump" that two vacuum pumps are installed and one is required for dispatch. It further provided, under the "REMARKS OR EXCEPTIONS," that "(M) One may be inoperative for day VFR flights."

CFR Part 91.205

According to CFR 91.205 (d) "Instrument flight rules" states in part "For IFR flight, the following instruments and equipment are required:
(1) Instruments and equipment specified in paragraph (b) of this section, and for night flight instruments and equipment specified in paragraph (c) of this section
(2) Two-way radio communication and navigation equipment suitable for the route to be flown.
(3) Gyroscopic rate-of-turn indicator, except on the following aircraft…[the exceptions were not applicable to the accident airplane]
(4) Slip-skid indicator
(5) Sensitive altimeter adjustable for barometric pressure
(6) A clock displaying hours, minutes, and seconds with a sweep-second pointer or digital presentation
(7) Generator or alternator of adequate capacity
(8) Gyroscopic pitch and bank indicator (artificial horizon).
(9) Gyroscopic direction indicator (directional gyro or equivalent)"

At the time of the accident, the operator utilized CFR Part 91.205 to determine ability to dispatch airplanes with inoperative equipment.

Advisory Circular (AC) 91-75

According to Advisory Circular AC 91-75, a Safer Skies initiative recommendation authored by the FAA and industry highlighted vacuum system failures as a significant cause or contributor to fatal accidents in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).

The FAA and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) conducted research to further analyze the potential hazards of partial panel operations in IMC. As part of the study, the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute conducted simulations studying pilot responses to vacuum system failures, while AOPA's Air Safety Foundation conducted parallel flight studies in a Piper Archer and a Beech Bonanza. These studies included pilots with varying experience levels in both high and low performance aircraft.

The studies showed that a vacuum system or gyro failure is insidious because the gyro fails slowly, making the failure difficult to recognize. Data indicated that pilots might not have the proficiency to safely recover and land the airplane, particularly in high-performance airplanes, even though instrument-rated pilots receive partial panel training.

It also identified that, because the attitude indicator is centrally located in the pilot's primary field of view, it provides easily interpreted pitch and bank information in one instrument. For this reason, most pilots tend to rely heavily on the attitude indicator in IMC to maintain aircraft control.

Additionally, since most small general aviation airplanes typically have an attitude and heading indicator powered by a single vacuum source, these airplanes normally do not have redundant vacuum systems or a second attitude indicator. Therefore, to recognize that a failure condition exists and isolate which instrument has failed, the pilot must cross-check other instruments that indicate pitch or bank information.




JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—The family of a student pilot who died in a Georgia plane crash in March 2014 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the flight company and pilot-in-command at the time of the crash, a court filing in Jacksonville shows.

Adam Christopher Griffis, a father and husband, lost his life when the small plane he was flying from North Caroline to Jacksonville's Craig Airport crashed near Brunswick, Ga. The suit alleges that Airline Transport Professionals and the pilot of the plane at the time are at fault for the fatal crash.

Andres Santiago Lopez was in command of the flight, erroneously so, the lawsuit says, as he was a student pilot himself. Lopez also lost his life when the plane crashed.

The lawsuit alleges that ATP is at fault for allowing Lopez command of the flight when he was just a student himself and for not keeping the small plane in flying condition.

Both vacuum pumps failed on the flight, the suit says. The left pump was never functioning and the right failed while in the air.

In alleging negligence, gross negligence and vicarious liability (against Lopez's estate), the family of Grffis is asking for $15,000 in compensation.

A multi-day search was coordinated after the plane went missing near St. Simons Island back in 2014. 

The plane was a Piper PA-44-180 Seminole aircraft.

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

Andres Santiago Lopez Sr., 28, (left) and Adam Christopher Griffis, 31, fly in a Piper PA 44 on March 23, 2014 a day before they crashed in a swamp four miles east of Brunswick. Both died in the crash.







NTSB Identification: ERA14FA168  
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, March 24, 2014 in Brunswick, GA
Aircraft: PIPER PA-44-180, registration: N923RS
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On March 24, 2014, about 1745 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-44-180, N923RS, was destroyed following an inflight breakup and subsequent impact in a waterway in a marsh area near Brunswick, Georgia. The two private pilots were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by ATP Aircraft 2, LLC and was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The airplane had departed from the Concord Regional Airport (JQF), Concord, North Carolina, about 1551 EDT and had an intended destination of Jacksonville Executive Airport at Craig (CRG), Jacksonville, Florida.

According to representatives of the flight school, the pilots had flown into JQF earlier from CRG and had an airplane change for the flight back to CRG.

According to a witness, the airplane was observed flying in a "northeasterly direction" prior to his losing sight of the airplane. Several eyewitnesses reported hearing a "thud" or "explosion" and also observed debris falling from above.

Preliminary radar information indicated that around 1740 the airplane was flying at 8,000 feet when the Federal Aviation Administration Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center instructed the pilots to descend. The command was acknowledged by the pilots; however, no further voice recordings were received from the accident flight. About 1744, the last recorded radar data indicated that the airplane was at 300 feet above ground level and no further data transmissions were received.

Man sentenced after Cherry Capital Airport (KTVC) trespass

TRAVERSE CITY — A Traverse City man will serve two months in jail for a jaunt inside a Cherry Capital Airport deicing truck.

Nico Delgado, 21, appeared last week for sentencing before 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers.

Traverse City police in January arrested Delgado on Garfield Road at which time they found the keys to a deicing truck in his pocket.

Authorities believe Delgado got onto airport property and sat in the truck, where an employee saw him, before running away.

Delgado eventually pleaded guilty to charges of trespassing at an airport and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

Rodgers sentenced Delgado to two months in Grand Traverse County's jail and 24 months of probation.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.record-eagle.com

Enstrom F280, N5698Y: Accident occurred March 26, 2016 at Williamson-Sodus Airport (KSDC), Wayne County, New York

http://registry.faa.gov/N5698Y

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA163
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 26, 2016 in Sodus, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/03/2016
Aircraft: ENSTROM F280, registration: N5698Y
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 flight instructor reported that he asked the pilot receiving instruction to demonstrate a run-on landing on the sod between the runway and taxiway. He reported that as the helicopter touched down at about 25 miles per hour (21.72 knots), the pilot lowered the collective to the full down position while the helicopter was still moving forward with considerable momentum. The helicopter began to "lurch forward" and the nose of the helicopter started to lower. The flight instructor then came on the flight controls, but the helicopter had progressed to an "extreme nose low attitude," and he applied aft cyclic to prevent the main rotor blades from impacting terrain. The main rotor blades instead impacted and separated the tailboom. The fuselage continued moving forward and the nose impacted terrain and then settled back on the skids. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, main rotor system, tailboom, and tail rotor system. 

The flight instructor verified that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The flight instructor reported that he recommended landing on sod due to potential wear on the bottom of the skids from friction with the paved runway. He also reported that the pilot had successfully performed run-on landings in the past on the sod area.

As a safety recommendation, the flight instructor reported that landing the helicopter on the runway instead of the sod may have lessened the effects of improper application of the collective at touchdown. He reported that he should have verbally reviewed the importance of using the collective to control the friction with the landing surface while in the traffic pattern to ensure the pilot's intentions were mutually understood. He further reported that he should have maintained a guarded position on the flight controls regardless of the pilot's abilities to decrease the flight instructor's reaction time for maneuver recovery. 

Enstrom Helicopter Corporation has published the Enstrom 280F Training Maneuvers Manual (2014). This manual discusses objectives and descriptions for a shallow approach and run-on landing, and states in part:

Caution, Enstrom does not endorse practicing run-on landings. Run-on landings should only be accomplished on a smooth, hard surface; and should always be planned to the center of the runway to preclude sliding off the runway, and overturning. 

After ground contact, maintain heading with pedals and maintain collective position. Ensure that power is maintained until the helicopter comes to a complete stop to insure directional control.

The Federal Aviation Administration has published the Helicopter Instructor's Handbook FAA-H-8083-4 (2012). This handbook provides instructional information for a shallow approach and run-on landing and states in part:

In any case, do not rapidly lower the collective after touchdown. Smooth reduction of collective prevents a rapid stop that could result in damage to the aircraft or injury to the crew.

For helicopters equipped with skids, it may be better to practice running landings on a hard surface runway instead of on a grassy field because there is less probability of catching a skid, which can lead to dynamic rollover. In addition, check the condition of the skid shoes before and after practicing running takeoffs and landings.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's improper collective application at touchdown during a practice run-on landing, which resulted in the main rotor system impacting the tailboom and the forward portion of the fuselage impacting terrain during remedial action by the flight instructor. Contributing to the accident was the flight instructor's delayed remedial action.



A helicopter crashed inside the property of the Williamson-Sodus Airport Saturday morning.

According to state police, a pilot and trainee pilot were in the helicopter. 

Police say that as the helicopter was landing it got caught up on ground and pitched forward. The tail section broke away. 

Both the pilot and trainee pilot walked away from the crash with no injuries. 

Story and video:  http://www.whec.com

Lincoln County to reconsider zoning boundaries around North Platte Regional Airport (KLBF)

NORTH PLATTE, Neb.-- Lincoln County is taking action to determine if the zoning boundaries around the North Platte Regional Airport need to change.

Currently, there are height restrictions on what can be built in the three miles surrounding the airport; however, the county is considering extending these boundaries to ten miles horizontally.

The Lincoln County Commissioners appointed the the Lincoln County Planning Commission as the Airport Zoning Commission to consider this change.

Joe Hewgley, board chairman of the Lincoln County Commissioners, said that considering this change is a matter of safety.

"If you're in IFR weather, it's pretty tough to see if you're fogged in," Hewgley said. "If you're trying to come in on an instrument approach at the end of a runway, you want to make sure that nothing is intruding in that zone."

The Airport Zoning Commission is meeting in May. Their findings will be presented to the Lincoln County Commissioners again sometime in June.

Original article can be found here: http://www.knopnews2.com

Jetblue Embraer ERJ-190, N273JB, Flight B6-29: Incident occurred March 25, 2016 at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), Nassau Bahamas

http://registry.faa.gov/N273JB 

Date: 25-MAR-16
Time: 19:20:00Z
Regis#: JBU29
Aircraft Make: EMBRAER
Aircraft Model: ERJ190
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: NASSAU
Country: Bahamas, The

AIRCRAFT LANDED WITH THE NOSE GEAR RETRACTED. NASSAU, BAHAMAS

NASSAU, Bahamas, (CMC) – Bahamian authorities say all 97 passengers and crew on board a Jet Blue aircraft were not injured when the aircraft made an emergency landing at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) on Friday evening,

The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) said that a Jet Blue 29 Embraer 190 travelling to the Bahamas from Washington Dulles Airport (KIAD) had declared an emergency due to a landing gear problem.

Aviation officials said that only the right main gear was extended, and that both the left main gear and the nose gear were not.

“The pilot in command made a decision to attempt a landing at LPIA, and after burning some fuel, executed a safe landing…with the use of both the left and right main gear only. The nose gear was not extended. All passengers and crew were determined to be uninjured,” the CAD said in a statement.

It said as a result of the incident, the main runway at LPIA was temporarily closed to allow for the removal of the aircraft and that aircraft operations continue on another runway with minimal delays

“The public is informed that the Accident and Investigations Unit of the Flight Standards Inspectorate will immediately conduct an investigation into this incident, with a view to determining the circumstances which led to its occurrence,” the CAD said praising various stakeholders, including the pilot “for a job well done”.

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

More problems for Allegiant Airlines: 18 flights cancelled, delayed, or diverted this weekend

SANFORD, Fla. - Allegiant Airlines said Monday in a statement to News 6 that the majority of the issues with flights to Orlando this past weekend were due to "operational constraints," not mechanical issues.

Ten flights were diverted Saturday night from Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Orlando International Airport (MCO) "due to an issue with runway lights at SFB," the Allegiant on-call media relations team wrote in an email.

SFB CEO Diane Crews told News 6 that an air traffic controller put the landing system out of service when a pilot complained it was functioning intermittently. It was repaired by noon Sunday, said Crews, but until then, overnight, controllers at Orlando Center directed Allegiant planes to land at MCO instead of SFB's other runway where the landing system was functioning properly.

Four other Allegiant flights were delayed or rescheduled this weekend "due to a lack of available crews" and four more because of a "maintenance issue."

"I would just like to know are they taking care of it, and what procedures," said Angelica Garcia, after she landed at SFB from South Bend. "And are we going to be safe on those planes."

Allegiant, known for its cheap tickets and service to smaller cities, said it is a safe airline.

"Safety is our number one priority every day, and we continue to have one of the best safety records of any passenger airline in the world," the media relations team wrote in a statement to News 6. "Our robust maintenance program goes above and beyond manufacturer and FAA recommendations and guidelines."

Allegiant is SFB's primary carrier. CEO Diane Crews said she rarely gets a complaint and cannot go anywhere without people telling her how much they love Allegiant.

But News 6 has reported on a history of complaints and mechanical problems.

Last week an Allegiant flight to Grand Rapids from SFB was rescheduled four times when three different planes had mechanical problems and were forced to turn back.

In February, News 6 reporter Mike DeForest uncovered three mechanical issues that month and three emergency landings during a three-day period in December.

Two years ago, the Teamsters Union began compiling a list detailing dozens of Allegiant Air flights that had to return to the airport or divert to another city due to mechanical issues.

"We find it disconcerting that an airline with such a small fleet has experienced such a large number of schedule disruptions due to mechanical issues," the union said last year, blaming a lack of time, spare parts, and training.

"Allegiant, like most commercial carriers, is in nearly daily contact with FAA representatives," said Allegiant media relations. "The FAA oversees and approves the creation of all training materials, programs and certifications for pilots, flight attendants and maintenance personnel, as well as nearly every procedure, manual, process or operation related to flying and maintaining an aircraft."

Allegiant said it offered food vouchers, hotel accommodations, and $100 vouchers to affected passengers this past weekend. Passengers who chose not to fly Allegiant were given partial refunds.

Allegiant media relations provided to News 6 this list of affected flights:

1. Flight 632 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Huntington Tri-State Airport (HTS) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a maintenance issue. The flight operated as flight 5632 on March 27, 2016 and departed SFB at 3:37 p.m. local time with an estimated arrival time of 5:17 p.m. local time in HTS.

2. Flight 633 with scheduled service from Huntington Tri-State Airport (HTS) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a maintenance issue. The flight will operate as flight 5633 on March 27, 2016 with an estimated departure time of 5:39 p.m. local time in HTS.

3. Flight 772 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a maintenance issue. The flight operated as flight 5772 on March 27, 2016 and departed SFB at 2:30 p.m. local time with an estimated arrival time of 4:29 p.m. local time in FWA.

4. Flight 773 with scheduled service from Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a maintenance issue. The flight will operate as flight 5773 on March 27, 2016 with an estimated departure time of 5:28 p.m. local time in FWA.

5. Flight 1200 with scheduled service from Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges drove crew time outs and availability. The flight operated as flight 5200 on March 27, 2016 and departed AVL at 12:11 p.m. local time and arrived at 1:46 p.m. local time in SFB.

6. Flight 1201 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges drove crew time outs and availability. The flight operated as flight 5201 on March 27, 2016 and departed SFB at 10:00 a.m. local time and arrived at 11:19 a.m. local time in AVL.

7. Flight 1300 with scheduled service from Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges drove crew time out and availability. The flight operated as flight 5300 on March 27, 2017 and departed CVG at 3:20 p.m. local time with an estimated arrival time of 5:24 p.m. in SFB.

8. Flight 1301 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) was rescheduled from March 26, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges drove crew time outs and availability. The flight operated as flight 5301 on March 27, 2016 and departed SFB at 12:23 p.m. local time and arrived at 2:15 p.m. local time in CVG.

9. Flight 604 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Central Illinois Regional Airport (BMI) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time out and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5604 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 7:20 a.m. local time in SFB.

10. Flight 605 with scheduled service from Central Illinois Regional Airport (BMI) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5605 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 9:21 a.m. local time in BMI.

11. Flight 786 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5786 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 1:20 p.m. local time in SFB.

12. Flight 787 with scheduled service from Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5787 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 12:45 p.m. local time in XNA.

13. Flight 756 with scheduled service from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5756 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 7:56 a.m. local time in SFB.

14. Flight 757 with scheduled service from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5757 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 9:58 a.m. local time in AUS.

15 .Flight 894 with scheduled service from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) to Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5894 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 2:20 p.m. local time in PIE.

16 .Flight 895 with scheduled service from Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG) to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5895 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 5:36 p.m. local time in IAG.

17. Flight 1602 with scheduled service from Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) to Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5602 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 3:00 p.m. local time in PGD.

18. Flight 1603 with scheduled service from Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) to Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) was rescheduled from March 27, 2016 due to a lack of available crews. Operational challenges, including diversions overnight due to an issue with runway lights at SFB, drove crew time outs and availability. The flight will now operate as flight 5603 on March 28, 2016 with an estimated time of departure of 5:14 p.m. local time in CAK.

Story and video:  http://www.clickorlando.com

Piper PA-24-250 Comanche, N8154P: Accident occurred March 26, 2016 near Kentland Municipal Airport, (50I), Jefferson Township, Newton County, Indiana

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA132
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 26, 2016 in Kentland, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/06/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA24, registration: N8154P
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

The flight instructor reported that he had demonstrated the use of the airplane's fuel quantity gauge during the instructional flight. As part of the demonstration, he had changed the position of the fuel selector but did not recall in what position he had left the selector at the conclusion of the exercise. While approaching the airport to land, the engine experienced a total loss of power, and the flight instructor assumed control of the airplane. During the subsequent forced landing to a field, the airplane stalled about 10 feet above the ground and landed hard, resulting in substantial damage. Postaccident examination found fuel in all fuel tanks with the exception of the right auxiliary tank. No mechanical anomalies were found with the airplane. The position of the fuel selector before the loss of engine power could not be determined, as the flight instructor turned the selector to the off position during the postaccident egress. The airplane was operating in an area conducive to the formation of serious icing at glide power, however, it could not be determined if the loss of engine power was a result of fuel starvation with the right auxiliary fuel tank selected, or if carburetor icing had formed during the airplane's descent. It is likely that the stall experienced during the forced landing contributed to the severity of damage to the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Contributing to the accident was the flight instructor's inadequate airspeed management during the forced landing, which led to an aerodynamic stall at low altitude.

On March 26, 2016, about 1345 central daylight time, a Piper PA-24-250 airplane, N8154P, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Kentland, Indiana. The flight instructor and private rated pilot receiving instruction sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Kentland Municipal Airport (50I), Kentland, Indiana.

According to the flight instructor, following air work he demonstrated how to use the single fuel gauge and the momentary selector buttons to display how much fuel was in each tank. He then demonstrated the gauge using the fuel selector. The instructor could not recall which position he left the fuel selector in. He reduced power and descended from 3,000 ft mean sea level through 1,500 ft and set up for a 500 ft per minute descent towards runway 09 with approximately 14 inches manifold pressure, fuel pump on, and carburetor heat on.

At an undetermined time, the private pilot began flying the airplane. About ½ mile from the approach end of the runway 9, the airplane's descent rate increased so the instructor called for the private pilot to add engine power. When the engine did not respond, the instructor took control of the airplane and turned right to land in a field. He checked the engine instruments and fuel quantities and could not get the engine to respond. The airplane stalled about 10-15 ft above ground level and the airplane landed hard. The instructor turned off the cockpit switches to include the fuel selector and both pilots exited the airplane.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration inspectors examined that wreckage and found substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings. In addition, each fuel tank contained an unmeasured amount with the exception of the right auxiliary tank which was found empty. No anomalies were discovered which would have precluded normal operation of the engine.

After the accident, the instructor recalled that during the air work portion of the flight, the right wings seemed to be "a bit heavy" but he was not surprised since most of the indicated fuel was contained in the right main and right auxiliary tanks.

A review of the Carburetor Icing Probability Chart located in the FAA's Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35, Carburetor Icing Prevention, dated June 30, 2009, found that the airplane was operated in an area conducive to the formation of serious icing while operating at glide power.

http://registry.faa.gov/N8154P

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA132
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 26, 2016 in Kentland, IN
Aircraft: PIPER PA24, registration: N8154P
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

On March 26, 2016, about 1345 central daylight time, a Piper PA-24-250 airplane, N8154P, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Kentland, Indiana. The flight instructor and commercial pilot receiving instruction sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Kentland Municipal Airport (50I), Kentland, Indiana.

In a statement provided by the flight instructor, while on short final to runway 9 the commercial pilot added power and the engine did not respond. Attempts to restore engine power were not successful. The instructor reported that the airplane stalled about 10 to 15 ft above ground level and the airplane landed hard in an open field.




There were two minor injuries resulting from a small airplane crash near the Kentland (Ind.) Municipal Airport March 26.

The Newton County (Ind.) Sheriff’s Department, Kentland (Ind.) Fire and Newton County (Ind.) EMS were called to assist the Federal Aviation Administration.


A single engine plane crashed west of U.S. 41 and south of U.S. 24 near the Kentland Airport around 2:30 p.m. 

The pilot was a 77-year old Danforth man and the passenger was a 61-year old Watseka man.

The FAA has not released names and potential cause of the crash.

Palm Beach International Airport (KPBI) worker with $282,000 in backpack was planning restroom delivery, feds say

An airline employee at Palm Beach International Airport is facing federal charges after agents said he was caught with more than $282,000 in cash stuffed inside a backpack he was instructed to deliver to a passenger in an airport restroom.

Jean Yves Selius, 26, of Boynton Beach, was arrested Saturday on allegations he illegally transmitted money.

Selius, a Delta Air Lines ramp agent, told agents that Saturday was the fifth time he was paid to smuggle money into the airport and he knew the cash did not "come from a good cause," agents wrote.

He was stopped and questioned after he bypassed security checkpoints and used his employee badge to enter a secure part of the airport from the outside ramps, according to federal agents from Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection.

"Selius then voluntarily unzipped his own bag and pulled it open, revealing large packets of cash wrapped in clear, vacuum-sealed bundles," agents wrote in court records.

Under questioning, Selius told agents he was being paid between $900 and $1,000 to give the backpack to "an unknown person in a bathroom" in an area of the airport accessible to workers and passengers who have been cleared by the Transportation Security Administration.

Selius said he was told to give the money to a man he thought was a passenger on a flight to New York's LaGuardia Airport later that morning.

He also told agents that two men, he knew only by first names, approached him when they found out he worked at the airport and had been paying him to make such drop-offs for about a year.

He said he received a total of $3,900 in payment from the men. He picked up the backpack filled with cash at a different, unidentified location and was told where to deliver it.

Selius told agents he thought he was carrying about $100,000, but agents said they counted $282,400.

A law enforcement drug-detection dog that was summoned to inspect the backpack indicated the money had been in contact with drugs, authorities said.

Selius made a brief appearance Monday in federal court in West Palm Beach and will remain locked up at least until a court hearing later this week, according to court records.

Story and video:   http://www.sun-sentinel.com

Beech 77, N60189, AV Flight Simulation LLC: Accident occurred June 16, 2016 in Santa Fe County, New Mexico and incident occurred March 26, 2016 in Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas

AV FLIGHT SIMULATION LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N60189 

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Albuquerque FSDO-01

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA320
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 15, 2016 in Santa Fe, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/31/2016
Aircraft: BEECH 77, registration: N60189
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 the initial climb in night visual meteorological conditions the airplane "was not climbing well." The pilot further reported for about 15 minutes he maneuvered the airplane over a highway, and the airplane still would not gain altitude. Subsequently, he reported that was "unable to maintain adequate terrain separation" and landed on the highway. During the landing roll on the highway, the pilot swerved to avoid a car and struck a road sign, which substantially damaged the left wing.

During postaccident correspondence with the pilot, he reported that the airplane was "160 lbs. over gross with high estimates on bags, likely closer to 140 over gross." 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK) in part states: "The pilot should always be aware of the consequences of overloading. An overloaded aircraft may not be able to leave the ground, or if it does become airborne, it may exhibit unexpected and unusually poor flight characteristics. If not properly loaded, the initial indication of poor performance usually takes place during takeoff." 

The pilot also reported that a cold compression check was performed on the engine after the accident. He reported that the "compressions were 25/80, 42/80, and both rear cylinders were 72/80." 

The Service Instructions for cylinder compression checks provided by Textron Lycoming in part states: "Operate the engine until normal cylinder head and oil temperatures are attained; then shut down the engine making sure that magneto switches and fuel supply valves are shut off. Proceed with the test as soon as possible after shut down." The cylinder compression measured was not completed in accordance with the manufacture's service instructions.

The FAA provides guidance on how density altitude affects aircraft performance. The density altitude about the time of departure was 8,202 feet, the pressure altitude was 6,217 feet, and the temperature was 20 Celsius (68 Fahrenheit). According to the FAA Koch Chart, the airplane would have likely experienced a 145% increase to the "normal takeoff distance" and a 65% decrease in a normal climb rate. The FAA PHAK in part states: "In extreme conditions, such as high gross weight, high density altitude, and high temperature, a deficiency of airspeed during takeoff may permit the aircraft to become airborne but be incapable of sustaining flight out of ground effect."

The pilot also reported that he had been on a four day trip and had worked more than 12 hours each day, including the day of the accident. He reported that, "fatigue significantly affected decision making as [the] pilot had opportunities to attempt to land back at [the] airport, abort [the] takeoff, or land closer on [the] highway avoiding the vehicle." The FAA PHAK in part states: "Fatigue is frequently associated with pilot error. Some of the effects of fatigue include degradation of attention and concentration, impaired coordination, and decreased ability to communicate. These factors seriously influence the ability to make effective decisions."

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's decision to takeoff over the maximum takeoff weight in high density altitude conditions, which resulted in an inability to climb above terrain, a forced landing, and a collision with a road sign. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to fly in a fatigued mental state.

Date: 26-MAR-16
Time: 15:29:00Z
Regis#: N60189
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 77
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: PORT ARTHUR
State: Texas

DURING LANDING THE AIRCRAFT WENT OFF THE SIDE OF THE RUNWAY. PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS.