Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Piper PA-23 Apache, N2100P: Incident occurred April 20, 2016 at North Perry Airport (KHWO), Hollywood, Broward County, Florida

Date: 20-APR-16
Time: 17:06:00Z
Regis#: N2100P
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA23
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19

State: Florida


A small plane made an emergency landing Wednesday at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines after the pilot reported a problem with the landing gear, officials said.

The pilot of a 1956 Piper PA-23 twin-propeller plane was forced to make a belly landing around 1 p.m. on one of the airport runways after the landing gear didn't deploy, said Broward County Aviation Department spokesman Greg Meyer.

Pilot Herbert Reiskin, of Hollywood, was not injured, Meyer said. Reiskin keeps his plane in one of the hangars at the airport, Meyer said.

"He experienced some problems with the landing gear. He flew around for a bit and then called it in," Meyer said. "It's a 1956 aircraft, it's an older aircraft."

Original article can be found here:

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (WSVN) -- A plane made a miraculous landing at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines, Wednesday.

According to Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue, a Piper PA-23 twin-engine plane touched down without the help of its landing gear. Witnesses saw the aircraft with its belly scraping on the ground of the runway.

Despite the frightening circumstances, the landing was successful.

According to Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue there were no injuries and no fuel leak.

Story and video:

Tulare County Sheriff hires new pilot: Air Unit will return to action after tragic crash

Air Boudreaux will soon be back in service.

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux welcomed five new employees to the Sheriff’s Department on Monday, including the new sheriff’s pilot, Michelle Simoes. She will fly the Sheriff’s airplane that will arrive in May.

Simoes thanked Boudreaux for giving her the opportunity to get the department’s Aviation Unit back up and flying following the tragic plane crash of Sheriff One on Feb. 10.

Killed in the crash were Sheriff’s Pilot James Chavez and Tactical Flight Officer Scott Ballantyne.

Simoes said she knew Chavez well. In fact, he trained her to fly the two-seater light sport aircraft, the same airplane chosen first by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and later by the Kings County Sheriff’s Office.

“James was a fantastic pilot,” she said. “I’m honored to fill those shoes.”

For Boudreaux, hiring Simoes helps the Sheriff’s Office heal by moving forward with the Aviation Program after losing Chavez and Ballantyne in the crash near Springville.

“It’s a big day for us to heal and yet to remember those we lost,” he said. “Getting the plane back in the air is good for us.”

Simoes’ role as a sheriff’s pilot is to support deputies on the ground. Communication is vital between the ground and the officers in the airplane.
“I’m looking forward to supporting the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and getting the new plane off the ground,” she said.

The airplane provides another tool for law enforcement in an effort to keep the community safe. According to a press release, the “Eyes in the Sky” help deputies on the ground locate criminals and find lost children and at-risk adults, as well as patrol the county’s farmlands looking for criminals.
Simoes, 48, was born and raised in Visalia. She lives in Tipton with her husband, They have a 23-year-old son.

Before Simoes became a pilot, she helped run the family business and was a homemaker.

Her desire to fly was sparked when her younger sister won a free introductory flight lesson. Simoes said she thought she would like to fly herself. Later, she found a flight instructor and began her own lessons while her son was in school in 2004.

“I threw myself into my new passion,” she said.

She obtained her private, commercial, instrument, multi-flight dispatcher and airline transportation pilot certifications.

One of her inspirations to fly was the late Amelia Earhart, an American aviation pioneer. Simoes said she relates to this quote from Earhart: “I don’t know how far I can go, so I will go until I can’t go any farther.”

When Simoes had the opportunity to join the Kings County Sheriff’s Air Support Unit on a volunteer basis, she jumped at the chance. She helped start the aviation program there in early 2015 and was one of the pilots who flew the new plane to Hanford.

Also sworn in on Monday were inmate programs specialist Elena Ledezma, emergency dispatcher Carlos Inacio, and correctional deputies Enrique Diaz and Kenrick Silvas.

Original article can be found here:

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA067

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 10, 2016 in Springville, CA
Aircraft: FLIGHT DESIGN GMBH CTLS, registration: N911TS
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 February 10, 2016, at 1617 Pacific standard time, a Flight Design CTLS airplane, N911TS, while flying at low altitude entered a hard left turn and descended into terrain 4 miles southwest of Springville, California. The airline transport pilot and single passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed by a post-crash fire. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the Tulare County Sheriff as a public aircraft under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on a visual flight rules company flight plan. The flight originated from Visalia Municipal Airport, Visalia, California, approximately 1440 as a local flight.

Witnesses reported seeing the airplane circling a nearby area then depart to the southwest. The airplane made a left turn, the wings dipped left and right, then the airplane descended into the ground in a sideways wing down orientation. The engine was heard operating in a steady tone until ground impact. A post-crash fire ensured, destroying the airplane.

The Porterville Municipal Airport automated weather observation system-3 (AWOS-3), located 11 miles southwest of the accident site, at an elevation of 443 feet mean sea level, recorded at 1556, wind from 300 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, and altimeter setting of 30.18 inHg.

Federal Aviation Administration grants Ronan Airport (7S0) $200K

Airport officials will begin a two-year study of the Ronan airport after the Federal Aviation Administration funded a grant for the work.

The $202,642 Aeronautical Survey and Airport Masterplan Update grant will be used to define whether the airport is in demand enough to expand it for use of larger firefighting aircraft that could potentially save lives.

Lake County Joint Airport Board Chairman Rick Newman said that nothing will change in the Ronan area surrounding the airport.

“No shovels will go into the ground in the next two years,” he said.

The study is to determine if a need exists for bigger planes like those needed to fight wildland fires.

Lake County is home to three airports, Newman said. Two of those airports are in areas that cannot handle larger aircraft. The St. Ignatius airport is not an FAA airport, he said. Polson is located in an area too close to a river, the lake, Tribal lands and other areas that inhibit expansion.

Though Ronan is surrounded by its own set of special locations, designations and issues, it is an FAA site. Airport board leaders want to know if it is a location that is sought after, or capable of handling larger planes.

“We are not going to turn that into an international airport,” Newman said. “We have Missoula and Kalispell for that. If a year goes by and nothing is going on, if no pilots make requests, then we are not going to rebuild the runway.”

Through the next two years, airport professionals will conduct things like a wind study to determine the prevailing wind direction, a traffic study to see how much activity the location receives, a farming study to see if expansion would impact area farmers, all things the FAA requires before allowing any kind of airport expansion.

The FAA funds 90 percent of all member airports’ needs, Newman said. Additional individual airport funding is provided through rent of hangars and other outside sources.

Other Montana cities that received FAA funding include Billings, Broadus, Circle, Forsyth, Hardin, Livingston, Malta, Shelby and Wolf Point.

“Community airports across Montana provide critical transportation services to Montana’s rural communities,” Senator Steve Daines said in a press release announcing grant recipients. “These grants will ensure that Montana’s smaller airports are able to meet rising ridership demands, ensure safe and reliable service for their passengers and meet the long-term economic needs of the communities they serve.”

Original article can be found here:

Virgin’s WhiteKnightTwo flies New Mexico skies

SPACEPORT AMERICA — Virgin Galactic’s pilot team on Wednesday performed the first operational tests of the company’s WhiteKnightTwo aircraft in New Mexico in almost two years.

The dual fuselage WhiteKnightTwo — which will eventually carry SpaceShipTwo to high altitude before the vehicle drops and rockets to space — took off from Spaceport America after 9 a.m. for two hours of flight that allowed pilots and air traffic controllers at White Sands Missile Range and in Albuquerque to practice working together.

Virgin Galactic brought six of its seven pilots to southern New Mexico this week for the operational tests, which began Monday and end Thursday.

Chief Pilot Dave Mackay and pilot Kelly Latimer — Virgin Galactic’s newest hire to its flight team — flew the first WhiteKnightTwo exercises on Wednesday.

WhiteKnightTwo corkscrewed up to nearly 50,000 feet and repeatedly glided back toward Spaceport, engines idle, only to graze the runway and take off again.

Lead test pilot Mark “Forger” Stucky stayed on the ground to explain the day’s mission, which included tests that allowed the aircraft to simulate SpaceShipTwo’s descent.

“The beautiful thing about WhiteKnightTwo is that it isn’t just a carrier aircraft that drops the spaceship, it can simulate the spaceship gliding and landing,” Stucky said.

Working with air traffic controllers, too, “is a really important coordination exercise,” he said.

“As much as you plan, there is always something you learn for next time,” he said. “When we come down with the spaceship, we’ll want it to be smooth.”

An October 2014 accident during a rocket-powered test flight ripped apart the company’s spaceship and killed one pilot. Virgin Galactic has been recovering from that accident, rebuilding its spaceship and returning to its test flight program.

Virgin Galactic rolled out a new SpaceShipTwo earlier this year and has begun ground testing, according to Mike Moses, senior vice president of operations. Flight testing could begin this summer, he said, and would be later followed by rocket-powered test flights.

Some 700 “future astronauts” have put down payments for the $250,000 trips to the edge of space and back.

Virgin Galactic says passengers will glimpse the curvature of the earth from space and feel a few minutes of weightlessness before SpaceShipTwo descends into earth’s atmosphere and glides back to Spaceport America.

Original article can be found here:

Cessna 172 Skyhawk, N63541: Fatal accident occurred April 20, 2016 near Birchwood Airport (PABV), Chugiak, Anchorage, Alaska

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: 

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Anchorage FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: ANC16FA019
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, April 20, 2016 in Chugiak, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N63541
Injuries: 4 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 April 20, 2016, about 0900 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 172 airplane, N63541, sustained substantial damage after impacting tree-covered terrain about 2 miles southwest of the Birchwood Airport, Chugiak, Alaska. The airplane was registered to the pilot, and operated by 70 North LLC, Anchorage, Alaska, as a visual flight rules (VFR) aerial photography flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The airline transport pilot and three passengers sustained fatal injuries. The flight departed from the Birchwood Airport about 0840. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident, and company flight following procedures were in effect for the local area flight. 

According to the operator's manager, the purpose of the flight was to do aerial surveying and photography over an area of land adjacent to the west edge of the airport property. The Birchwood Airport is located adjacent to the shoreline of the Knik Arm. 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), along with three Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspectors, reached the accident site on the morning of April 20. The wreckage path was located in an area of dense spruce and birch trees with thick underbrush, at an elevation of about 230 feet mean sea level (msl). 

The main fuselage and associated debris path were oriented on a 275-degree heading from a damaged 100-foot-tall spruce tree, which is believed to be the initial impact point. (All headings/bearings noted in this report are true.) 

The main wreckage came to rest about 480 feet west of the spruce tree, and the debris path between the tree and the main wreckage site displayed signs of extensive fuselage fragmentation. Debris consisting of small pieces of plexiglas, aluminum, a door frame assembly, and various landing gear components were in the debris path. All of the airplane's major components were located at the main wreckage site. A postcrash fire incinerated a majority of the airplane's fuselage. 

A preliminary review of archived FAA air traffic control radar data revealed that the airplane departed from the Birchwood Airport and headed south for about 1.5 miles, then it turned west and completed a 360-degree turn at altitudes between about 1,500 to about 1,800 feet msl in an area less than a mile south of Beach Lake. The airplane then continued west toward the Knik Arm shoreline. Upon reaching the shoreline, the airplane completed a series of turning maneuvers at altitudes ranging between about 2,000 to about 2,400 feet msl before it proceeded northeast (generally along the Knik Arm shoreline), overflew the Birchwood Airport, and continued generally northeast for about 4 miles. The airplane then turned southwest, again flew over the airport, and continued southwest and back to the same area along the Knik Arm shoreline where it had completed its previous turning maneuvers. From an altitude of about 1,300 feet msl, the airplane began a right turning maneuver during which it descended to about 900 feet msl before exiting the turn about 1,100 feet msl and proceeding to the southeast. The data track showed that the airplane proceeded southeast for about 1 mile at an altitude of about 1,100 feet msl before its last data position. The last position from the radar data indicated that the airplane was about 800 feet msl, with a ground speed of about 102 knots, and traveling on about a 126-degree track.

The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-320 series engine. A detailed examination is pending. 

At 0806, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) from the Birchwood Airport, about 2 miles northeast of the accident site, reported, in part: Wind calm; sky condition overcast clouds at 8,000 feet; visibility 9 statute miles; temperature 39 degrees F, dew point 30 degrees F; altimeter, 30.04 inHg.

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

Sarah Glaves

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A small airplane hit a bald eagle before it crashed just north of Anchorage, Alaska, last month, killing all four people on board.

An investigator says it’s the nation’s first civilian plane crash to result in deaths after an impact with a bald eagle.

Shaun Williams with the National Transportation Safety Board says there have been other crashes involving eagle strikes that resulted in serious injuries, not deaths.

The pilot, co-pilot and two passengers died when the plane went down April 20 near a small airport about 20 miles north of Anchorage.

Williams says an unknown substance was later found on the aircraft. Analysis at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., determined some of it was feathers and other materials that came from an immature bald eagle.

PALMER -- The small plane that crashed near Chugiak Wednesday morning, killing four people -- including the former National Transportation Safety Board investigator at the controls -- was headed for a nearby survey project in the area of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Pilot George Kobelnyk, 64; co-pilot Christian Bohrer, 20; and surveyors Kyle Braun, 27, and Sarah Glaves, 36, died in the crash of Kobelnyk’s Cessna 172P around 9 a.m., shortly after taking off from the Birchwood Airport.

Braun and Glaves both worked for TerraSond, a ground and ocean surveyor headquartered in an industrial area on the south side of Palmer. The firm has 55 employees and offices in Seattle, Texas and Mexico.  

“It’s just a complete shock. Our company is stunned by all of this,” Scott Schillinger, TerraSond’s general counsel, said around noon Thursday. “It’s just absolutely devastating to us.”

The pair was on the first day of a survey next to JBER, not far from the airport where they took off, Schillinger said.

Federal investigators finished their on-scene work by noon Thursday and removed the wreckage scattered over a 100-yard debris field west of Beach Lake Road near Chugiak, according to NTSB investigator Shaun Williams. The wreckage was taken to a secure facility in the Valley where it will be examined.

The investigation into the crash is still in its infancy. Williams said he expected a preliminary report to be released next week, but the more comprehensive factual report and ensuing probable cause finding are still 12 or 13 months away. 

One witness to the plane's takeoff has spoken with the Federal Aviation Administration, but Williams said he had yet to interview them. 

Investigating a fatal crash involving a former NTSB investigator is no different than any other aviation incident in which someone dies, he said.

"All accidents with fatalities are difficult," he said. "Every victim, it's somebody a family is missing ... We have to think of that at all times. Everybody is hurting."

Braun, 27, grew up in Butte and loved outdoor activities and photography. He was caring for his mother after his father’s death last year. He worked as a drafter for TerraSond.

Braun posted a Thanksgiving greeting on Facebook last November: “Take time today to remember all of the great things in life and how fortunate we are to have all we have. Pay thanks to being surrounded by loved ones or people we hold close to our hearts. Enjoy every moment of time and pay it forward to those whom are less fortunate.”

Glaves, 36, has family on the Kenai Peninsula and was an avid painter and musician. She played flute in Mat-Su Concert Band, where she was a steady but fun-loving musician talented enough to participate in a small ensemble. 

State Sen. Peter Micciche, who represents Soldotna, met Glaves when they took a class together at Kenai Peninsula College. He called her a “brilliant young woman” who helped put together a trio and surfaced at many musical gatherings.

“Pretty much everything Sarah did made the world a better place,” Micciche said.

TerraSond’s Palmer offices were somber on Thursday. Employees were still trying to deal with the sudden loss of Braun and Glaves.

“Both of them really are irreplaceable,” Schillinger said.

Kobelnyk, a veteran NTSB investigator, left that agency in the 1990s to serve as a senior manager with the Federal Aviation Administration. He remained a highly certificated pilot who flew daily, family members said.

Bohrer was a Chugiak native and avid aviator who played high school baseball and loved to take pictures from his plane. A junior majoring in mathematics at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Bohrer was a member of the Seawolf Debate Team and made it to the final round of the March competition.

Zaz Hollander serves on the board of directors for the Mat-Su Concert Band, where Sarah Glaves was also a member.

Original article can be found here:

The pilot of a small plane that crashed near Chugiak Wednesday morning with four aboard was a former National Transportation Safety Board investigator with extensive aviation experience in Alaska.

Anchorage Fire Department Chief Dennis LeBlanc said the crash, off Beach Lake Road, was reported shortly after 9 a.m. There were no survivors.

“An aircraft was found fully engulfed in flames,” LeBlanc said. “There are four fatalities.”

Anchorage police identified the victims of the crash Wednesday afternoon as pilot George Kobelnyk, 54, and co-pilot Christian Bohrer, 20. The two passengers were Sarah Glaves, 36, and Kyle Braun, 27.

The aircraft was registered to Kobelnyk, based on a tail number provided by National Transportation Safety Board investigator Shaun Williams. Kobelnyk had worked for both the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration in Alaska, according to his wife.

FAA spokesperson Allen Kenitzer said the plane crashed under "unknown circumstances."

Williams said at a 3 p.m. news conference that the debris field spanned about 100 yards. The plane was in pieces in a densely-wooded area of birch and spruce trees. 

It had taken off from the Birchwood Airport. He said one witness had watched the plane take off, but Williams had not yet spoken with that person. The plane crashed a few miles south of the airport around 9:05 a.m. with four people onboard, Williams said.

"The airplane fragmented upon impact with some of the trees," he said. "We'll know more once we start moving the wreckage."

Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Chief Clifton Dalton said he received word of a plane crash at 9:07 a.m., when a citizen reported hearing the crash and seeing a plume of black smoke.

Deborah Schaffer, a volunteer staying in an RV space at Birchwood Camp not far from the crash site, said she didn’t see the plane go down, but heard it.

Schaffer said she heard a plane fly “really low” overhead despite nearby power lines, and then heard the plane sputter, followed by a loud thud. She pulled on shoes and a jacket and ran outside.

“I could see black smoke,” she said. “That’s when I called it in.”

Dalton said firefighters drove on two four-wheelers roughly a half-mile down mushing trails in the area before discovering the scene: a fiery plane crash in a thickly forested area west of Beach Lake Road.

Virginia McMichael of Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue said shortly after the crash that firefighters had to hike and use ATVs to reach the site. McMichael said the plane had ignited a brush fire, but crews were dealing with it. Nine units were at the scene shortly after the crash, she said.

Firefighters had the flames under control in 10 or 15 minutes, Dalton said..

"We were fortunate it wasn't a super dry day," he said. He said the plane was "destroyed" and there were no signs of survivors.

The fire could make the investigation more difficult, Williams said.

"Following the impact there was a post-crash fire and that takes away a lot of our evidence," Williams said. "So we have to go back to what we do have and work from there."

By 1:30 p.m., The bodies of four adults were recovered from the scene, according to Dalton. They were carried out from the crash site along muddy trails on the back of a four-wheeler.

'He could do it all'

George Kobelnyk’s wife, Susan Kobelnyk, said her husband was "a very experienced aviator" who flew daily. He previously worked for NTSB and the FAA, she said.

“Otherwise, he’s just a guy who loved his family,” Susan Kobelnyk said.

George Kobelnyk served as the president of the Mustang Hockey Association in the early to mid-1990s, said acquaintance Chuck Homan. Kobelnyk volunteered his time to coach and referee youth hockey teams, Homan said.

“He was very dedicated to the association,” he said.

Current NTSB Alaska region chief Clint Johnson, who started with the agency in 1998, said he actually took Kobelnyk's place at the Alaska office. Kobelnyk had left a few years earlier to work as a senior manager for the FAA.

“He was a very good investigator,” Johnson said. “He was a real champion for safety. It’s a sad day for the Alaska office of NTSB.”

Kobelnyk is listed as the only contact for Alaska Aviation Adventures on the company website. The company provides mountain flying and flight instruction, flightseeing and other services, according to its website.

Kobelnyk held multiple certifications, including as a flight instructor and transport pilot, according to a federal pilot registration database. He also held multi-engine airline and helicopter certifications.

"He did everything," Susan Kobelnyk said. "He could do it all."

Questions remain

Many questions about the crash remained unanswered by Wednesday afternoon. Williams said he did not have information on where the plane was headed or what caused it to crash. 

Williams said the plan was to return Thursday to recover the wreckage and transfer it to a storage location for further investigation. He said representatives from Cessna Aircraft Company and Lycoming Engines would assist with the investigation.

"No two airplanes come apart the same way. So that's a challenge. We have to sit there and go through every single piece, look at every break, every bend in the metal to determine exactly what caused this unfortunate event," he said.

Original article can be found here:

Authorities are recovering the bodies of those killed in a Wednesday morning plane crash near Birchwood, with aviation investigators on scene.

The crash was reported just after 9 a.m. in a densely wooded area, off of mushing trails in the Birchwood, Chugiak area, said Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Chief Clifton Dalton.

FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer told KTUU the plane was a Cessna 172 with four people on board. He said that information was based on reports from local authorities.

Dalton declined to talk about the number of deceased, citing the ongoing effort to notify next of kin. There are no signs of survivors, he said.

The general area, Beach Lake Road, is about 20 miles northwest of Anchorage. The fire was quickly extinguished and did not significantly burn the surrounding area, Dalton said.

11 A.M. UPDATE:  The chief of a volunteer fire department that drove ATVs to reach the remote site of a fiery plane crash today near Birchwood said there is no reason to believe anyone survived the crash.

The cause of the crash, reported just after 9 a.m. near dog mushing trails off of Beach Lake Road, is unknown.

FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer told KTUU the plane was a Cessna 172 with four people on board. He said that information was based on reports from local authorities.

The chief of the Anchorage Fire Department had said initial reports made to emergency dispatchers were of four dead.

However, Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Chief Clifton Dalton, interviewed near the site of the crash, said the number of fatalities was not immediately known to rescuers on the scene.

Beach Lake Road is about 20 miles northwest of Anchorage. The fire has been extinguished and did not significantly burn the surrounding area, Dalton said.

Dalton said firefighters have not identified anyone involved in the crash.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigator is on the scene. That agency is attempting to identify the tail number of the plane.

An automated weather update from Birchwood Airport at 9:50 a.m. describes calm winds in the area and an overcast sky with cloud cover at 8,000 feet.

UPDATE:  Anchorage Fire Department Chief Denis LeBlanc said initial reports from the scene of the crash indicate "that there were four fatalities."

LeBlanc said that information is based on reports to dispatchers from the site of the fiery crash near Beach Lake Road, north of Anchorage.

"The plane was reported to be fully engulfed," LeBlanc said. The Chugiak volunteer fire department is responding with seven units.

Police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said the crash was first reported at about 9:05 a.m. Smoke was seen in the area, leading to the firefighter response.

ORIGINAL POST:  Anchorage police say they are responding to a plane crash this morning near Beach Lake Road. Firefighters and the National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating. Please avoid the area.

Story and video:

Shaun Williams of National Transportation Safety Board arrives to investigate a fatal airplane crash Wednesday morning, April 20, 2016, off Beach Lake Road near Chugiak.

Chugiak Volunteer Fire Chief Clifton Dalton.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Shaun Williams speaks at the scene of a fatal plane crash near Chugiak, Alaska on April 20, 2016.

At 9:08 a.m., just after police say the crash was first reported, smoke can be seen on the horizon. FAA weather camera photo.

Mud dripping from a 4-wheeler that went to the aircraft crash scene. Firefighters say trail conditions are rough.

CHUGIAK – At least four people are dead in a Chugiak plane crash, Anchorage Fire Department chief Denis LeBlanc said after talking to officials on scene. 

According to LaBlanc, the Chugiak Fire Department responded to the crash, near Beach Lake Road by the Birchwood Airport, with seven emergency response apparatuses and had not requested the service of Anchorage fire officials.   

The crash occurred in a heavily wooded area and the plane was fully engulfed in flames, according to Chugiak Fire Department chief Cliffton Dalton. Chugiak firefighters were able to contain the blaze and prevented it from spreading, he added.

Emergency responders could only access the scene by four-wheeler. The crash site is not accessible by road.

The Anchorage Police Department and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were also responding, police said.

An NTSB investigator arrived at the scene shortly before 10:30 a.m.

“The plan right now, we are going to conduct an initial on scene (investigation) to determine the tail number of the plane, how many occupants and start trying to piece things back together,” said NTSB investigator Shaun Williams. “At that point we will move into another phase, where we start looking at the wreckage in more detail, once it has been recovered.”

Story and video:

When Wild West cowboys showed up on the Ontario frontier

Airborne wolf hunter Harley Rauch with the head of a timber wolf which earned him a $25 government bounty payment.

Parry Sound North Star
By John Macfie

Today’s column is a parting shot from the young and careless days when I was a wildlife management officer based in the Northwestern Ontario town of Sioux Lookout. My memory of this episode was refreshed while reading some letters I wrote home 65 years ago.

 The story concerns an adventuresome pair of flyers from South Dakota named Harley Rauch and Cliff Foss. They were Second World War pilots (Cliff’s brother Joe was the top-scoring fighter ace of the U.S. Marine Corps and a recipient of the Medal of Honor) who took up cattle raising post war.

 They also moonlighted as aerial bounty hunters, and boasted of collecting bounty money on as many as a thousand coyotes annually in the Dakotas.

In 1949 Rauch and Foss flew north seeking bigger game (and, at $25, bigger bounties) in the form of Northwestern Ontario timber wolves.

They struck an unexploited bonanza.

The lake-studded wilderness surrounding Sioux Lookout and the lifestyles of timber wolves differed markedly from the dry Dakotas and the habits of coyotes, but the pair quickly adjusted hunting strategy to suit.

During three or four weeks in February and March 1951, for example, our Fish & Wildlife office in Sioux Lookout processed around 80 timber wolf bounty claims submitted by the two pilots.

This was evidence enough that the Americans were onto something, but a couple of us in the office, the district biologist and I, wanted to know exactly how they ran up such scores. Finding out required getting up close and personal.  

Foss flew a ski-equipped Aeronca with a gunner stationed in the rear seat, while Rauch worked solo, shooting from the left window as he flew his Piper Cub.

There was sufficient room behind Rauch’s seat to squeeze in a passenger, and the district biologist was first to go up (maybe we tossed a coin). Then it was my turn to go along for the ride, and a merry ride it was.

We took off at 6 a.m., for the hunters had learned by trial and error that wolf packs were most likely to be out on the ice during the first three hours of daylight.

The two aircraft went their separate ways to patrol the shorelines of some of the hundreds of lakes lying with a 75-mile radius of Sioux Lookout, watching for wolf tracks and wolf-killed deer.

This day, Rauch flew east to follow a chain of lakes contributing to the English River.

After half an hour of low-level flight, Rauch pointed to a lone wolf about 50 yards out on the crusted snow surface of Minnitaki Lake. Appearing strangely pink in the light of the just-rising sun, it blended in perfectly with the equally pink snow, and I would have missed it entirely.

Throwing the Cub into a one-eighty turn, Rauch descended to ten feet above the ice in order to pull abreast of the animal. However the wolf, apparently having learned to fear low-flying aircraft, beat the Cub to the sheltering shoreline.

Never mind, Rauch had an app for that. Plan B was to keep the animal close to shore by flying back and forth in an arc a short distance back in the bush. All the while dodging the tops of the taller white pine trees, on the initial fly past Rauch poked his pump shotgun out the window and fired a random shot to halt the animal’s flight.

On the next pass, the alarming odour of something burning grabbed my own attention.

Then I saw Rauch throw something out the window, sparking and smoking as it went. It was a string of firecrackers, cheaper than shotgun ammo and likely more effective, for the miniature explosions could sound like cracking brush.

In short order the wolf scooted back onto Minnitaki Lake.

The Cub swooped like a hawk and in an instant was approaching the running animal from behind, at naught feet. Rauch’s knees, between which the control column was now firmly tucked, were doing the flying, and both hands clutched the shotgun, the barrel of which was cradled in a dent hammered in the aluminum windowsill by countless recoils. When the line of sight crept to within a tail’s length of the tip of the wolf’s tail Rauch pulled the trigger and the animal rolled to a dead stop.

We discovered no more wolves that morning, and back in Sioux Lookout we learned that Foss had had no luck at all. That year, three weeks flying yielded only 29 wolves, one-third of the previous year’s bag.

And the following year, two weeks of scouring the lakes yielded only a dozen kills.

At that point, Cliff Foss received word of the loss to fire of his brother Joe’s hangar and aircraft, and Harley Rauch came down with a case of the mumps, preventing him from flying back home.

Altogether, 1953 ended in disappointment for the cattlemen from South Dakota.

They returned to Sioux Lookout during two or three subsequent winters, but facing a smaller population of wiser wolves bounties collected hardly paid for the aviation fuel.  

A few other owners of ski planes dabbled in the aerial wolf-hunting game at the time, but none raised it to the science that Rauch and Foss did. And no others attracted as much publicity — both good and bad.

Eventually the government concluded that shooting a wolf from an airplane wasn’t nice, and amended the game laws accordingly.

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Gypsy moth treatment to begin in Ross County, Ohio

REYNOLDSBURG - The Ohio Department of Agriculture will soon begin aerial treatments designed to control the gypsy moth population in Ross County.

Treatments on 1,474 acres in Perry, Ross and Scioto Counties will begin in late April, as larva and leaf development reaches the optimal threshold for treatment.

Treatments are administered using a low-flying aircraft that flies just above tree tops. High humidity, low temperature and minimal wind are crucial for a successful application. Treatment will most likely take place during early morning hours.

The department will use Foray (Btk), a naturally occurring bacterium found in the soil that interferes with the caterpillars’ feeding cycles and Gypchek (NPV), a virus that affects only the gypsy moth caterpillars and has no effect on beneficial insects. These treatments are not toxic to humans, pets, birds or fish.

Gypsy moths are invasive insects that defoliate over 300 species of trees and shrubs. In Ohio, 51 counties are currently under gypsy moth quarantine regulations.

For more information about the gypsy moth or for specific treatment locations, visit

Original article can be found here:

Spirit resumes seasonal flights

Spirit Airlines has resumed seasonal flights to major hubs in Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and Boston, according to a press release from the company.

The company will also bring back 22 seasonal routes including Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and Boston to and from ACY.

The airline will also be adding 14 new routes throughout the country.

Spirit began offering seasonal flights to the four major cities in 2014, when passenger traffic saw an 11 percent increase through the first seven months of 2014 compared with the same span last year.

Stephen Schuler, spokesperson for Spirit Airlines, said that Spirit bases its traveling network on how successful travel routes have done in the past.

“Our own numbers say that there is a demand for these markets at this time for both Atlantic City residents in the greater area and others who want to travel to these destinations,” Schuler said.

Schuler said adding routes like Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and Boston as year-round routes are always under consideration.

“We’re taking on more aircraft every month so routes that we see as successful traffic patterns we definitely take note of, but it’s always based on the numbers and where we need to fly,” Schuler said.

The flights to the four cities are offered in Spring and Summer seasons.

Original article can be found here:

Kyle Thomas again named Master Certified Flight Instructor

Kyle Thomas is one of only 14 Oklahoma aviation educators to hold the Master CFI title. 

Southeastern Oklahoma State University aviation professor and chief flight instructor Kyle Thomas is one of only 14 Oklahoma aviation educators to earn a prestigious accreditation.

His recent accreditation as a Master CFI (certified flight instructor) was renewed by Master Instructors LLC, the international accrediting authority for the Master Instructor designation as well as the FFA-approved “Master Instructor Continuing Education Program.”

Thomas first earned this national professional accreditation in 2006, has held it continuously since then, and is one of only 31 individuals worldwide to earn the credential six times.

To put his achievements into perspective, there are approximately 101,000 CFIs in the United States. Fewer than 800 aviation educators worldwide have received one or more of the Master accreditations thus far.

Thomas also serves as advisor to the local Women in Aviation chapter and is a coach for the University’s flight team.

Former FAA administrator Marion Blakey said, “The Master Instructor accreditation singles out the best that the right seat has to offer.”

Original article can be found here:

Beech 65-A90-1 King Air, St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement, N7MC: Fatal accident occurred April 19, 2016 at Slidell Airport (KASD), St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Baton Rouge FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA158
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 19, 2016 in Slidell, LA
Aircraft: BEECH 65 A90 1, registration: N7MC
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 April 19, 2016, about 2115 central daylight time, a Beech 65-A90-1 airplane, N7MC, collided with towers suspending high power transmission lines, while attempting to land at the Slidell Municipal Airport (KASD), Slidell, Louisiana. Both pilots were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by the Saint Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District as a public use flight. Night visual meteorological condition prevailed for the flight, which operated on a visual flight rules flight plan. The local flight originated about 2000.

After completing a planned mosquito abatement aerial application flight, the accident pilots radioed their intentions to land at KASD. A company airplane was also in the area and flew the GPS approach to runway 18 for practice, while the accident airplane flew a visual pattern. When the pilots of the other company airplane radioed that they had crossed the GPS approach's final approach fix, the accident pilots radioed that they were on a left base and were number one to land at the airport. Seconds later, the company pilots of the other airplane saw an arc of electricity followed shortly by a plume of fire from the ground. The accident pilots could not be reached on the radio, and emergency responders were contacted.

The airplane was located in a marsh about 0.6 nautical miles north-northwest of approach end of runway 18. The initial point of impact was damage to two towers suspending high power transmission lines. These two towers were between 70-80 feet tall and were located 200 yards north of the main wreckage. The airplane's left wing tip and a portion of the aerial applicant tank were found near the towers.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

At 2053, an automated weather reporting facility located at KASD reported a calm wind, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, temperature 68° F, dew point 64° F, and a barometric pressure of 30.09 inches.

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

Wayne Fisher, 68, of Slidell; and Donald Pechon, 59, of Covington. 

SLIDELL-  Around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, Folsom resident Bobby Newbury and his wife stepped outside to watch the parish mosquito plane fly by, like they always do.

But this time, something was different.

"I could hear it coming across the tree line and the engine kind of shutoff, for a second, which I thought was kind of strange because they're not that high up," he said.

But the plane continued out of the area, without issue, until it attempted to land at the Slidell airport around 9:20 p.m.  A smaller spray plane pilot flying at the time says he watched the parish's largest plane suddenly rollover and crash into a wooded area north of the runway.  In it was 68-year-old Wayne Fisher of Slidell and 59-year-old Don Pechon of Covington.

Chuck Palmisano, the director of the parish Mosquito Abatement Office, says both were longtime pilots with his agency, and other public entities.  Both were described as accomplished airmen.

"He always told me, I don't think he was afraid of anything, and he was willing to do the job because he had the experience and the background to the job that a lot of other people just wouldn't do," said Sid Galloway.

Fisher's longtime friend, Galloway, says his love for flying was equal to his love for helping people.

"When we had to drive to Birmingham to have heart surgeries, people would give cards, give us gifts, for my boy to take with him," he said, "Wayne, and his wife Kim, woud show up. They would drive from Slidell to Birmingham to just be there. That was just the kind of person that he was. Just an amazing indivdual."

In a December 2005 article, Pechon, a flight instructor, with his own aviation school based out of Slidell, came across as someone determined to take fear out of flying and did so with a smile.

As the investigation into what led to this tragedy begins, so does the process of grieving for two good men.

The NTSB, who is now officially on site, has not given a timeline on when it will release preliminary findings on the cause of the crash.

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St. Tammany Mosquito Control Employees and emergency officials gather at their hangar and rush to the scene after a Mosquito Control plane crashed upon landing approach north of the Slidell airport runway, Tuesday, April 19, 2016.

The two pilots killed in Tuesday night’s plane crash near the Slidell airport have been identified.

Wayne Fisher, 68, and Donald Pechon, 59, were the two men aboard the Mosquito Abatement District plane when it crashed into the woods just north of the Slidell airport while trying to land, according to James Hartman, a spokesman for the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s office.

The men were identified based on “reliable information” about who was on the plane, but DNA testing will likely be necessary to confirm the identities, Hartman said. Next of kin have been notified for both men.

Recovery of the bodies is ongoing, he added.

Original Story

An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board will likely arrive Wednesday at the site of a small plane crash in Slidell that took two lives Tuesday night, a spokesman said.

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash, which happened shortly after 9 p.m. and took the lives of two pilots in the plane, officials have said.

Wednesday morning, crews were still working to clear a path back to the heavily wooded crash site just north. Emergency workers confirmed that both pilots dies in the crash. The names of those pilots have not been released.

The plane was a Mosquito Abatement District plane which had been flying in the area spraying for mosquitoes, Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith said Tuesday night. Another mosquito abatement pilot flying nearby saw the crash and notified 911.

According to Smith, that pilot told investigators that the plane had “some type of engine failure” while on approach. The plane flipped over crashing into the trees and bursting into flames.

Emergency workers were able to reach the site on ATVs and with off-road vehicles.

According to the NTSB’s Keith Holloway, it could be close to two weeks before a preliminary report on the crash is produced. That report won’t name a cause, but will give some basic information gleaned during the evidence gathering phase. Planes such as the one that went down don’t usually have flight data recorders or cockpit voice recorders, Holloway said.

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The mosquito abatement airplane that crashed while landing at Slidell Municipal Airport Tuesday night (April 19) rolled upside down upon approach before plowing into a wooded area near the north runway and bursting into flames, killing both pilots on board, police said. The pilot of a second mosquito-spraying plane was landing at the same time and witnessed the crash at around 9:20 p.m..

The pilot of the second plane landed successfully, immediately called 911 and attempted to get back to the crash site, which is in a difficult to reach section of woods on the northwest corner of the airport property, according to the Slidell Police Department. Helicopters operated by the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office and Acadian Ambulance surveyed the scene as police and firefighters  re retrieved off-road vehicles to reach the crash site.

After reaching the site, first responders were able to confirm that both pilots were killed in the crash, according to Slidell Police. The identities of the two pilots have not yet been release pending notification of next of kin. The St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office is expected to release the names later Wednesday.

The plane was not carrying any chemicals when it crashed, authorities said. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will conduct and investigation into the case of the crash. Early reports indicate that the plane may have experienced engine failure, but that won't be made known until the investigation is completed. 

Planes operated by the St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District routinely conduct aerial spraying throughout the parish. The spraying is performed by a twin engine Britten-Norman Islander aircraft and a twin engine Piper Aztec aircraft, according to the district's website.

Applications are initiated at dusk and conclude 3 to 4 hours after dusk. The aircraft operate at an altitude of 200 feet at a speed of 140-150 mph. All spray operations are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the website.

The crew consists of a FAA qualified pilot and co-pilot. For extra safety measures, the co-pilot is equipped with night vision goggles. Each aircraft is equipped with a GPS guidance system that the crew uses for following a predetermined flight path and spray grid.

The district's operations are supported by a property tax millage paid by St. Tammany residents and businesses.  

"This is a very unfortunate accident and our prayers are with the families of the two pilots who perished in the crash," Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith said. "I would like to complement the massive effort last night by all first responders who attempted rescue efforts. The conditions were extremely dangerous and not easy to navigate."

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SLIDELL, La.(WWL-TV) -- Two people have died after a small mosquito-spraying plane crashed Tuesday night at the Slidell airport, police and fire officials confirmed.

Around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, Slidell Police, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, and St. Tammany Fire District One all responded to a plane crash at the Slidell City Airport which is managed and maintained by the City of Slidell. 

According to Slidell Police, two St. Tammany Parish Mosquito planes were landing after spraying various areas. The pilot of one of the planes witnessed the crash. He stated that during the approach for landing, for unknown reasons, the other plane rolled upside down and crashed into the wood line.

The pilot who successfully landed immediately called 911 and attempted to get back to the crash site.

The crash happened around 9:30 p.m., just North of the runway, as the plane was landing.

The crash site, which is on the northwest corner of the airport property in the woods, was heavily engulfed in flames and extremely hard to access. Helicopters with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office and Acadian Ambulance both surveyed the scene while first responders with Slidell PD, STPSO, and STFD1 retrieved ATV's, and other off-road vehicles, in order to reach the crash site.

It was confirmed late Tuesday night there were two pilots inside of the plane, both of which did not survive the crash.

The FAA is investigating the cause of the crash.

No further information was given on the two people who died. 

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