Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Jeffair Barracuda, N85UC: Incident occurred April 27, 2016 at Ernest A. Love Field Airport (KPRC), Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona

http://registry.faa.gov/N85UC

AIRCRAFT LANDED WITH THE NOSE GEAR RETRACTED. EXPERIMENTAL BARRACUDA. PRESCOTT, AZ

Date: 27-APR-16

Time: 17:15:00Z
Regis#: N85UC
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: PRESCOTT
State: Arizona





Prescott Fire Department responded to an early accident at the airport this morning. 


At 8am Wednesday the air traffic control tower at the airport received a report from a plane that it had a warning light indicating that its front landing gear had failed to deploy as it was approaching the runway.


The aircraft proceeded to fly by the tower where they were able to confirm that the front gear was still up.  


The Prescott Fire Department Aircraft Rescue truck, Rescue 73, Engine 74, and Chino Valley Fire Engine 62 all responded onto the airport for the plane to make its landing. 


The plane landed, falling forward onto its propeller, but remained upright.  


The pilot was able to exit the vehicle and had no injuries. 


The runway was closed for the duration of the subsequent investigation and the fire units released from the scene.


According to Firefighter Conrad Jackson, an early morning accident took place at Prescott Airport. 


Details are scarce, but it appears to be a nose gear failure, Jackson reported.


Jackson said there are no injuries, and details will follow later. 


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


PRESCOTT – A small airplane made a rough landing at Prescott’s Ernest A. Love Field Wednesday, April 27, when its nose landing gear failed to properly deploy, a Prescott Fire spokesman said.


About 8 a.m., the pilot warned the airport’s tower that he had a front-gear warning light, Firefighter/Paramedic Conrad Jackson said.


The plane flew by the tower and controllers confirmed the gear was still up. Fire crews responded and prepared for the landing, Jackson said.


It touched down on Runway 21-Left and tipped forward onto its nose, destroying the propeller, but did not overturn.


The pilot was not injured and walked away from the aircraft.


Original story:


PRESCOTT - The nose landing gear of a small airplane collapsed Monday morning, April 27, at Prescott Municipal Airport, according to a fire department spokesman.


Although the airplane sustained some damage, no one was injured in the incident, which happened about 8:30 a.m.


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


NTSB Identification: WPR13LA034
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 27, 2012 in Payson, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/13/2015
Aircraft: JEFFAIR BARRACUDA, registration: N19GS
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 pilot had purchased the experimental, amateur-built airplane from its designer/builder about 32 years after the airplane had been issued its airworthiness certificate. The airplane was the prototype and first-constructed edition of that model. Two years after the purchase, the airplane was damaged on landing due to a problem with the nose landing gear. The pilot subsequently determined that certain nose gear components were of insufficient strength and he had them "repaired and reinforced."

About 3 years later, after the airplane had accumulated an undetermined amount of time or cycles since the repairs, the pilot departed on the accident flight, which was a personal cross-country flight, with a passenger. The pilot observed a landing gear annunciation light sequencing abnormality during the gear retraction. The airplane did not experience any additional problems until the pilot selected the landing gear to the extended position and observed that the light indicating that the nose landing gear was down and locked did not illuminate. He conducted a low flyby of the airport, and a ground observer radioed that the nose gear appeared to be fully extended. However, upon landing, first the nose gear and then the two main gear retracted. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings. Postaccident examination of the landing gear system did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

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

The failure of the landing gear to remain extended during the landing roll for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 27, 2012, about 0925 mountain standard time, an experimental amateur-built JeffAir Barracuda, N19GS, was substantially damaged when all three landing gear collapsed after touchdown on runway 6 at Payson airport (PAN), Payson, Arizona. Neither the pilot/owner nor his passenger was injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no FAA flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to the pilot, the airplane landing gear system was equipped with three green annunciation lights, which illuminate when the landing gear is fully extended for landing, and three amber annunciation lights, which illuminate when the landing gear is fully retracted. On departure from Ernest A. Love field (PRC), Prescott, Arizona, for PAN, the pilot noticed that the nose landing gear (NLG) amber light illuminated about 5 to 8 seconds after the two main landing gear (MLG) lights; normally all three illuminate approximately simultaneously. The pilot was uncertain whether there really was a problem, and the airplane operated normally for most of the remainder of the flight. In the traffic pattern at PAN, after the pilot selected the landing gear to the extended position, he observed that the two green MLG lights illuminated, but the green NLG light did not. He conducted a low flyby of the airport, and a ground observer radioed that the NLG appeared to be fully extended.

The pilot then conducted a normal landing, but the NLG retracted when the pilot lowered the nose of the airplane. Very shortly thereafter, the two MLG then retracted, and the airplane slid to a stop on the runway. Portions of both MLG assemblies pushed up through the upper wing skins after the unintentional retraction. The airplane was partially disassembled, and transported to the pilot's hangar at PRC for further examination.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) information, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single- and multi-engine ratings. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in November 2011. According to the pilot, he had a total flight experience of about 2,500 hours, including about 40 hours in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent flight review was accomplished in September 2012.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

FAA records indicated that the airplane the first model of its type, and was built by its principal designer, G.L. Siers. The airplane was first issued its airworthiness certificate in 1975. The design was a single-engine, low-wing monoplane constructed primarily of wood. It was equipped with hydraulically-operated tricycle-configuration landing gear, and a Lycoming IO-540 series engine.

The accident pilot was the second owner of the airplane; he purchased it from the designer/builder in February 2007. According to the pilot, in July 2007, he "had the engine and prop rebuilt as they were both past TBO." In 2009 the airplane was damaged on landing due to a problem with the nose landing gear. The nose gear contacted a gear door while retracting; the pilot subsequently determined that the components intended to align the nose gear for retraction were of insufficient strength and had deformed, preventing normal nose gear operation. The pilot reported that the components "were repaired and reinforced."

The airplane's most recent annual condition inspection was completed on October 27, 2011, exactly 1 year prior to the accident. Maintenance records indicated that at that time, the airplane had accumulated a total time (TT) in service of about 516 hours. The pilot reported that the airplane had flown "about 8 or 9 times" since that inspection, and that "there were no problems."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The PAN 1635 automated weather observation included winds from 130 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 13 degrees C, dew point -8 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.18 inches of mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

PAN was equipped with a single paved runway designated 06-24. The runway measured 5,504 by 75 feet, and field elevation was reported as 5,157 feet. PAN was not equipped with an operating air traffic control tower.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Several days after the accident, and FAA inspector examined the wreckage in the pilot's hangar. The inspector reported that "both main gear had punctured through the tops of both wings," the landing gear doors were damaged, and that the "propeller was destroyed." The inspector did not note any obvious underlying reasons for the initial failure of the NLG.

According to the pilot, the uncommanded retraction of the MLG was an expected result of the NLG failure, due to the system architecture.

Air Marshals Can't Seek Damages in Transportation Security Administration Suit

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — A federal judge ruled Tuesday that former Transportation Security Administration air marshals are not entitled to damages if the agency is found liable for age discrimination in an ongoing case.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar gave a mixed ruling, handing modest victories to both sides and ultimately telling the marshals to amend their complaint to state that they seek no compensatory damages beyond what is strictly allowed in age discrimination cases.

"Plaintiffs' argument fails because the Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not permit any other type of relief other than judgments compelling employment, reinstatement or promotion, the recovery of unpaid minimum wages or overtime pay, and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs," Tigar wrote in his 8-page ruling.

However, Tigar found that two paragraphs the TSA sought to have stricken from any amended complaint were relevant and did not exceed permissible requests under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

"As plaintiffs correctly note, nothing in paragraphs 24 or 28 requests compensatory damages," Tigar said in the ruling. "In fact, plaintiffs explicitly use the word 'non-compensable' to describe these injuries."

The class action, filed in June 2015, claims the TSA closed specifically targeted older marshals when it closed a number of field offices in cities like Cleveland, Tampa, San Diego, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Phoenix.

The lead plaintiff, who sued under his initials K.H. due to what he claims are matters of national security, claims at least 90 percent of air marshals in the targeted offices are older than 40. Those marshals have been reassigned.

"It is the TSA's intent to force older workers from federal service and it is the TSA's desire that the older workers will in fact quit due to the closure of the field offices and the mandatory office reassignment," K.H. claims.

He says the TSA wants to "purge" its workforce of older air marshals so it can "hire two young field air marshals for every older field air marshal," according to the complaint. The move could affect approximately 300 older air marshals.

In addition, he says, "The TSA is making any potential move to other offices extremely difficult, expensive, unpalatable, and problematic."

K.H. says he suffered severe stress about uprooting his family from Florida and moving to California when the TSA decided to close the Tampa office, where he had worked.

He says he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which failed to act within 180 days.

Tigar gave the plaintiffs 14 days to amend and submit a new complaint that includes only remedies appropriate to age discrimination cases.

The plaintiffs are represented by Nicholas Wieczorek with Morris, Polich & Purdy in Las Vegas, who did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The TSA also did not respond to a request for comment. 

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

Eurocopter EC 135 P2, N135AN, Air Methods/Air Care Team/Orlando Health: Incident occurred April 27, 2016 in Kissimmee, Osceola County, Florida

HELIFLEET 2013-01 LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N135AN

Date: 27-APR-16
Time: 06:22:00Z
Regis#: N135AN
Aircraft Make: EUROCOPTER
Aircraft Model: EC135
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: STANDING (STD)
City: KISSIMMEE
State: Florida

AIRCRAFT WAS STRUCK BY A VEHICLE AFTER LANDING. KISSIMMEE, FL

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Police say a medical helicopter was hit by a car and disabled as it prepared to transport an injured pedestrian, and the car’s driver now faces drunken driving charges.

The Florida Highway Patrol says the helicopter landed in the middle of U.S. Highway 192 near Walt Disney World early Wednesday morning to pick up the patient who’d been hit by a car.

An arrest report says 20-year-old Cameron Sunderly drove his car around emergency vehicles blocking the road and crashed into the helicopter’s rear rotor.

Sunderly told troopers he’d been at an Applebee’s restaurant. A breath test measured his blood alcohol level at more than twice the legal limit, five hours after the crash.

It’s not clear whether Sunderly has a lawyer.

Details on the pedestrian weren’t immediately available.

Story and video:  http://ksn.com

Arnold Gerald Leto III: Orange County Pilot Charged with Flying Private Jet with Passengers Onboard without Having Proper License Issued by Federal Aviation Administration

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of California
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

LOS ANGELES – An Irvine man was arrested this morning on federal charges of illegally flying a twin-engine Falcon 10 turbojet airplane with passengers onboard without having a valid pilot’s license.

Arnold Gerald Leto III, 36, was charged in a criminal complaint filed yesterday in United States District court with operating an aircraft in air transportation without a valid airman’s certificate.

The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint alleges that Leto’s pilot’s license was revoked earlier this year, he operated the Falcon without having the required co-pilot, and he was never certified to fly this type of aircraft.

Leto is scheduled to be arraigned on the felony offense this afternoon in United States District Court.

Leto is charged will illegally flying the Falcon 10 from Van Nuys Airport to Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 8. Leto allegedly operated the aircraft with approximately eight passengers on board.

“Federal regulations governing the operation of aircraft and other common carriers are designed to protect the traveling public,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The investigation into Mr. Leto shows that he flagrantly violated these rules – and continued to do so after the FAA took action to take him out of the air. A swift and thorough investigation by the Department of Transportation has now improved the safety of all air travelers.”

According to the complaint, the aircraft that Leo piloted alone is a complex aircraft that requires two pilots to operate. Furthermore, Leto’s defendant’s pilot certificate – which he failed to surrender after it was revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration in January – did not have a turbojet-type rating that would authorize him to fly that airplane.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

The charge alleged in the complaint carries a statutory maximum penalty of three years federal prison.

This case was investigated by the Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, with assistance by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“This case that alleges operating an aircraft without a valid airman’s certificate is a clear signal that those who would seek to circumvent or disregard transportation-related laws and regulations will face serious repercussions,” said William Swallow, regional Special Agent-In-Charge, U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General. “Our agents will continue to work with federal, state, and local authorities to ensure safety for the traveling public.”

Original article can be found here:  https://www.justice.gov

Federal authorities have arrested and charged an Irvine man who flew a private jet with eight passengers after his pilot’s license had been revoked.

On April 8, Arnold Gerald Leto III, 36, flew a twin-engine Falcon 10 turbojet from Van Nuys Airport to Las Vegas, said federal prosecutor Mark Williams.

His pilot’s license was revoked in January for unknown reasons and was not certified to fly the turbojet.

“Even if he had his license, it still did not authorize him to operate the twin turbojet plane,” he said.

“The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) requires pilots to be rated and trained for that plane (Falcon 10),” Williams said. “He was taking a large amount of passengers and charging significant amounts of money to do so.”

Prosecutors believe Leto also flew the plane without a co-pilot, as required under FAA regulations.

Leto is the president of Irvine-based Aviation Financial Services Inc. and flies private jets for a living, Williams said.

He could not be reached Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities believe Leto has operated other flights since having his license revoked, Williams said.

“We have evidence of him flying more than once without a valid license,” Williams said.

He faces up to three years in federal prison.

A former Newport Beach pilot was charged in January of flying two Alaska Airlines flights in 2014 while intoxicated.

On June, 20, 2014, David Arntson, 60, was randomly tested minutes after his flight from Portland, Ore., to John Wayne Airport. His blood alcohol concentration level read 0.142 percent.

He quit his job before he could be fired. His case is still pending.

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

FAA investigating Allegiant Air after high-profile incidents

TAMPA — The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating Allegiant Air, the carrier that has experienced repeated mechanical problems and emergency landings and operates more than 100 flights a week out of St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.

The FAA confirmed that it is conducting an evaluation of Allegiant. The agency said the evaluation, known as the National Certificate Holder Evaluation, is performed on all airlines every five years, but Allegiant’s evaluation was moved up from 2018 to this month after a pair of high-profile incidents.

“The purpose of the review is to verify a company is complying with applicable regulations; determine whether it is operating at the highest possible degree of safety; and identify and address any problems that we identify,” said Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the FAA’s Pacific Division, in an email to The Tampa Tribune.

The evaluation is expected to be completed by late June.

In July, an Allegiant jet made an emergency landing at a closed airport in Fargo, N.D. after running low on fuel. The airport had been closed for a practice session of the Navy’s Blue Angels precision flight team, but the Allegiant jet was allowed to land.

Allegiant Air increased training for pilots and dispatchers and received a “letter of correction” from the FAA.

In August, pilots had to abort the takeoff of an Allegiant jet in Las Vegas that suffered a mechanical failure that caused the nose of the aircraft to rise prematurely. The airline blamed a fault in the elevator, a part of the tail that helps a plane climb or descend.

The FAA said it intensified its focus on Allegiant’s flight operations and aircraft maintenance programs after that problem.

The two incidents prompted the FAA to move up the Allegiant evaluation.

“We are confident in our operations, and we welcome the oversight,” Allegiant said in an email to the Tribune.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant was formed in 1997 as a budget carrier to connect smaller-town northern residents to vacation hotspots such as Orlando, Tampa and Las Vegas. It uses secondary airports with lower landing fees in many markets, such as St. Petersburg-Clearwater International and Orlando-Sanford International.

Allegiant carried about 95 percent of the 1.6 million travelers who used the Pinellas airport last year.

There have been additional incidents. In March, the Aviation Mechanics Coalition released a report to its Teamsters Union airline division, members of Congress, the FAA and the general public that detailed 98 maintenance issues from September 2015 through January 2016.

Thirteen of those incidents occurred on flights departing or arriving at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International, ranging from a diversion to another airport for hydraulic system issues to a jet returning to the Pinellas airport with smoke in the cabin.

In March, an Allegiant jet en route from the Pinellas County airport to Elmira, N.Y. was diverted to Baltimore under crash landing procedures due to faulty brakes. In February, a flight bound for Omaha, Neb., made an emergency landing in Birmingham, Ala., due to smoke in the cabin.

Later that month, a takeoff from St. Petersburg-Clearwater International bound for Kansas City, Mo., was aborted due to an engine problem.

Airline officials say much of the bad press stems from union propaganda. Allegiant has been in ongoing disputes with its pilots, who are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and its 600 flight attendants, who are represented by the Transport Workers’ Union. Its mechanics are not unionized.

The airline has been critical of the mechanics’ coalition, which has been compiling off-the-record reports of Allegiant flight incidents from pilots since 2014.

Pilots have threatened to strike, but a federal judge intervened to halt any walkoff.

Reports of Allegiant’s issues haven’t deterred investors or passengers. For its first quarter ended March 31, parent company Allegiant Travel Co. reported net income of $72 million, up from $65 million the same quarter of 2015.

The company said it executed agreements for a total of 11 additional Airbus aircraft to be delivered by 2020, and the company is operating 298 routes, up from 247 in the first quarter of 2015.

Earlier this month, the airline added new nonstop service from St. Petersburg-Clearwater to Flint, Mich., and to Dayton, Ohio. It will add its 50th destination, New Orleans, from the Pinellas airport in June.

- See more at: http://www.tbo.com

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed Wednesday that it is conducting a detailed, 90-day inspection of Allegiant Air's operations in response to "various internal issues" tied to maintenance and safety.

Such a comprehensive review is normally conducted at all airlines every five years. But the FAA said it was moving up its review of Allegiant by nearly two years to ensure the airline has remedied problems in operations.

The review began about April 1 and continues through June.

The FAA provided little detail about the reasons for the review, but said the issues were related to two flights last summer. One involved a near-crash of an aircraft in Las Vegas that suffered a jammed elevator on its tail during a takeoff that was aborted. The second involved an emergency landing in Fargo, N.D., due to low fuel at an airport that was partially closed.

The FAA's review comes as Allegiant officials recently have confirmed problems with operations after a year of steadfastly insisting all was well with the airline. Allegiant CEO Maurice Gallagher Jr. last week conceded the airline had a "bad summer" in 2015 with several emergency landings at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

The airline carried about 95 percent of the airport's record 1.6 million passengers in 2015.

Gallagher announced the airline's local management team had been replaced and Allegiant would hire five mechanics to work out of Pinellas County.

The airline also held a "media day" earlier this month where officials emphasized increased spending on safety. One intent of the event was to generate positive press to counter continued reports about problems, the airline told financial analysts Wednesday as they announced quarterly earnings.

"We've been proactive trying to make sure the message gets out," Gallagher said. "We certainly want to be ahead of (negative reports) and do the proper thing. It's just part of our maturation process."

The Allegiant pilots' union, involved in bitter contract negotiations, said Allegiant's recent comments on problems are overdue.

"It's clear that Allegiant's bare minimum approach to its operation isn't working," said Dan Wells, president of Teamsters Local 1224. "The federal government is conducting a high-profile investigation, and with an emergency occurring virtually every week due to a preventable maintenance issue, passengers are increasingly saying it isn't worth the risk to fly Allegiant."

Allegiant officials declined to comment.

The FAA's decision to move up the safety and operations review comes as the Las Vegas-headquartered airline continues to suffer apparent operational problems. On Monday, the airline canceled 10 flights, rescheduling all a day later. None of the flights was tied to St. Pete-Clearwater.

Over the weekend, two Allegiant flights suffered maintenance problems.

On Saturday, Allegiant technicians discovered during an overnight maintenance check that an aircraft's outer window panel was missing, and that it had hit the engine where it damaged a front engine fan blade. The panel would either have fallen off in flight or as the plane taxied, the FAA said. The inner portion of the window held firm, so the cabin did not lose pressurization.

The FAA did not identify that flight's destination or where it originated.

On Sunday, Flight 633 from Sanford, near Orlando, bound for West Virginia made an emergency landing after a low oil pressure reading led the pilots to shut down an engine, an internal Allegiant memo shows. It turned out the engine actually had adequate pressure and a sensor system had malfunctioned

By airline standards, it was a relatively minor event, even though it caused an unscheduled landing. All airlines encounter such problems. But this incident elicited a swift response from top Allegiant executives.

"A comprehensive investigation is underway," according to the memo to Allegiant's maintenance and operations teams by the airline's vice president of maintenance and engineering, Kurt Carpenter, and Eric Gust, vice president of operations.

Allegiant officials told analysts that stories about Allegiant's well-publicized maintenance issues are still not impacting ticket sales.

The airline reported $71.9 million in net income for the first quarter, up 11 percent from the same period last year. That was on $348 million in operating revenue, up 5.9 percent from 2015. The airline flew 2.59 million passengers in the quarter, up 15 percent from 2.25 million.

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

Piper PA-32R-301, N92779: Incident occurred April 26, 2016 in Clewiston, Hendry County, Florida

http://registry.faa.gov/N92779

Date: 26-APR-16
Time: 23:14:00Z
Regis#: N92779
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA32
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: CLEWISTON
State: Florida

AIRCRAFT LANDED GEAR UP. LEWISTON, FL

Piper PA-28-180, N16366: Accident occurred March 27, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

http://registry.faa.gov/N16366 

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA154
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 27, 2016 in Pittsburgh, PA
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N16366
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 27, 2016, about 1100 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180, N16366, was substantially damaged after a fire occurred during engine startup while the airplane was parked on the ramp at the Allegheny County Airport (AGC), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the intended local personal flight that was to be conducted under the provisions of Title14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot stated that on the morning of the accident, he called the fuel supplier and asked for the airplane to be topped off, in preparation for a local flight. After performing a preflight inspection, he attempted to start the engine but it would not start. He tried three additional times, without success. On the fifth attempt, he followed the "starting engine when flooded" checklist. As the propeller was turning with the starter, he noticed white smoke "pouring out" of the engine cowl. He turned off the master switch and exited the airplane. He then opened the top engine cowling, and flames suddenly emanated from the left side of the engine, and the color of the smoke changed from white to dark black.  He returned to the cockpit to retrieve a handheld fire extinguisher; however the cockpit was filling up with heavy black smoke and he was forced to egress and unable to suppress the engine fire

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the engine and compartment had incurred substantial fire and heat damage. Inside the cockpit, the fuel primer knob was found in the out/unlocked position.

According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1973. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on September 8, 2015. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 6336 total hours of flight time.

Robinson R44 II, AirGlass Inc., N395CE: Incident occurred January 07, 2016 in Anchorage, Alaska

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

Aviation Incident Final Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:   http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

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

Aviation Incident Data Summary  -  National Transportation Safety Board:  http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

NTSB Identification: ANC16IA013
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Incident occurred Thursday, January 07, 2016 in Anchorage, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/12/2016
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N395CE
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

The flight instructor reported that the purpose of the flight was to do a postmaintenance check flight after servicing and overhaul of the helicopter's fuel injection servo assembly. The instructor stated that, after an extensive preflight inspection was completed, the helicopter was moved outside the hangar. The helicopter's engine was started and allowed to warm up for about 10 minutes, and all ground run-up checks were satisfactory. While operating at 100 percent rotor rpm and while raising the collective to begin the takeoff, the engine abruptly experienced a total loss of power.The helicopter remained on the ground and did not sustain damage. 

A detailed examination, which included disassembly of the fuel injection servo, revealed white contamination ranging in consistency from grease-like to solid throughout the entire fuel servo assembly. The lubricant was used in excess and in locations not approved by the manufacturer's maintenance manual. It is likely that the contamination throughout the fuel injection servo caused a disruption in fuel flow, which resulted in a total loss of engine power. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident as follows:
The overhaul facility's improper and excessive use of an approved lubricant during overhaul of the fuel injection servo, which resulted in a disruption of fuel flow and a total loss of engine power.

On January 7, 2016, about 1100 Alaska standard time, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, N395CE, sustained a total loss of engine power just prior to departure at the Anchorage International Airport, Anchorage, Alaska. The private pilot, who was the helicopter owner, and his flight instructor were not injured. The helicopter sustained no damage as a result of the incident. The helicopter was registered to, and operated by, Airglas, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

During an on-scene interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on January 7, the flight instructor reported that the purpose of the flight was to do a post maintenance check flight after servicing and overhaul of the helicopter's fuel injection servo assembly. The instructor stated that after an extensive preflight inspection was completed, the helicopter was moved outside of the hangar. The helicopter's engine was started and allowed to warm up for about 10 minutes, and all ground run-up checks were satisfactory. He said that while operating at 100 percent rotor rpm and while raising the collective to begin the takeoff, the engine abruptly lost all power.

The helicopter was equipped with a fuel injected, Lycoming IO-540 series engine.

A postincident inspection of the fuel servo assembly revealed a white, greasy substance within the venturi of the servo assembly. 

The helicopter's maintenance records revealed that the fuel injection servo had been overhauled on December 14, 2015 by Alaskan Aircraft Engines, Inc., Anchorage, before being reinstalled on the accident helicopter. 

On January 14, the NTSB IIC along with another NTSB investigator, and a representative from Precision Airmotive LLC, examined the fuel injection servo at the facilities of Precision Airmotive in Marysville, Washington. Due to excessive white grease like contamination behind the test port plugs the servo was not flow tested. Disassembly inspection revealed large amounts of white contamination ranging in consistency from grease like to solid. The contamination was present in the manual mixture control valve, idle valve plate, fuel section O-rings, and the fuel diaphragm with the bleed port almost completely blocked. 

On January 19, the NTSB IIC along with another NTSB investigator, and two FAA aviation safety inspectors, visited the facilities of Alaska Aircraft Engines, Inc., in Anchorage, and disassembled a recently overhauled fuel injection servo. The inspection revealed excessive amounts of a white grease like substance throughout the fuel injection servo, consistent with the servo removed from the accident helicopter. A representative from Alaska Aircraft Engines stated that about 6 months prior they had switched assembly lubricants to Dupont Krytox an approved lubricant, but due to the investigation realized it was not being used in accordance with the maintenance manual and ended in excessive and inappropriate application. 

Dupont describes Krytox 240 series greases in part: as white, buttery greases based on perfluoropolyether (PFPE) oils. These synthetic fluorinated lubricants are used in extreme conditions such as continuous high temperatures up to 300°C (572°F) and higher temperatures for shorter periods, depending on product grade limits. Chemically inert and safe for use around hazardous chemicals, these lubricants are nonflammable and are safe for use in oxygen service.

A review of the Precision Airmotive Corporation Aircraft Fuel Injection Maintenance Manual for the RSA-10-AD1 Fuel Injection Servo Assembly lists three places where Krytox is to be used during assembly and states, in part:

"Apply Krytox or Braycote on mixture control lever assembly between lever stop and preformed packing.

NOTE: Remove excess Braycote or Krytox with Fluoroclean X-100. 

Apply Krytox or Braycote on idle valve shaft outboard preformed packing 

NOTE: Remove excess Braycote or Krytox with Fluoroclean X-100. 

Place servo stem spring over stem of fuel diaphragm assembly Lubricate threaded portion of diaphragm with ASTM Number 5 or Vaseline. Apply a light film of Krytox or Braycote to the concave side of seal. Place servo stem seal over stem with flange and concave side up. Press seal down on diaphragm stem to engage it at the spring. Remove lubricant from stem." 

In a conversation with the NTSB IIC, a representative from Precision Airmotive LLC stated that Krytox should be applied in a thin light coat, with all excess removed in only the locations specified in the maintenance manual. 

On January 19, Alaska Aircraft Engines issued a Service Advisory that stated, in part: "Beginning in June of 2015 Alaskan Aircraft Engines purchased and began use of an approved assembly lube it had not used previously. This lube was used in excess and in locations not required by the manufacturer's service manual. We believe this has the potential to cause a fuel distribution problem."

AIRGLAS INC:  http://registry.faa.gov/N395CE

NTSB Identification: ANC16IA013
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Incident occurred Thursday, January 07, 2016 in Anchorage, AK
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N395CE
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 used data provided by various sources and may have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

On January 7, 2016, about 1100 Alaska standard time, N395CE, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, sustained a total loss of engine power just prior to departure at the Anchorage International Airport, Anchorage, Alaska. The private pilot, who was the helicopter owner, and his flight instructor were not injured. The helicopter sustained no damage as a result of the incident. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Airglas Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. 

During an on-scene interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Investigator-in-Charge (IIC) on January 7, 2016, the flight instructor reported that the purpose of the flight was to do a postmaintenance check flight after servicing and overhaul of the helicopter's fuel injection servo assembly. The instructor stated that after an extensive preflight inspection was completed, the helicopter was moved outside of the hangar. The helicopter's engine was started and allowed to warm up for about 10 minutes, and all ground run-up checks were satisfactory. He said that while operating at 100 percent rotor rpm and while raising the collective to begin the takeoff, the engine abruptly lost all power. 

The helicopter was equipped with a fuel injected, Lycoming IO-540 series engine. 

A postincident inspection of the fuel servo assembly revealed a white, greasy substance within the body of the servo assembly. A detailed examination of the fuel servo assembly is pending. 

The closest weather reporting facility is Anchorage International Airport. About 7 minutes before the incident, at 1953, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) at Anchorage, Alaska, reported in part, wind 010 degrees at 6 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; few clouds at 6500 feet; temperature, 19 degrees F; dew point 16 degrees F; altimeter, 29.87 inHG.

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, Sky Shares LLC, N6616D: Accident occurred April 20, 2016 in Camarillo, Ventura County, California

SKY SHARES LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N6616D

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA202
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, April 20, 2016 in Camarillo, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/14/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N6616D
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

According to the student pilot, during the second approach of his first solo flight he noticed that the wind direction changed from 230 degrees magnetic to 210 degrees magnetic, and the wind speed increased from 5 knots to 10 knots. He further reported that the traffic within the pattern was congested with five aircraft. He reported that during his approach, he fixated on his crosswind correction and touched down on the runway too fast, and the airplane bounced. He affirmed that his reaction to the bounce was to pitch the nose down and consequently the airplane porpoised down the runway. Substantial damage was sustained to the firewall. 

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical failures or anomalies with the airplane prior to or during the flight that would have prevented normal flight operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The student pilot's incorrect pitch control input, resulting in a porpoise during landing and substantial damage to the airplane's firewall.

Preston Cavner: Jury finds Anchorage pilot was at fault in 2010 plane crash that killed his son; Cessna U206F Stationair, Cavner & Julian Inc., N59352

A lawsuit over a 2010 Anchorage plane crash that killed a child and severely injured others has ended with the jury placing full blame on the pilot.

A Superior Court jury in King County, Washington, delivered its verdict against the pilot, Preston Cavner, on April 11. Court documents show the jurors laid 100 percent of the responsibility for the death and injuries in the crash on Cavner, who was flying his wife and sons and a babysitter out to a lodge.

The Cavners blamed the plane’s engine manufacturers for a faulty product. The companies included Continental Motors, Ace Aviation and Northwest Seaplanes. That claim came about two years after the National Transportation Safety Board found the cause of the crash was a plane overloaded with timber and tiles.

Preston Cavner became a defendant in the case when his wife and sons, through their attorney, filed cross claims against him. He denied overloading the plane leading up to the trial but changed his story on the stand, said attorney Will Skinner, who represented Continental Motors.

It took over four years for the case to end with the trial, and Skinner said the lawsuit should have never been filed.

“Numerous witnesses gave interviews about what they observed” on the day of the accident, Skinner said. “Almost everyone said the engine was running fine. It was clear what happened. The guy (Cavner) overloaded the plane – too many people and too much stuff.”

Cavner took off from Merrill Field near downtown Anchorage on the afternoon of June 1, 2010, headed for the family lodge in Port Alsworth, 180 miles west of Anchorage, with his family and the children's babysitter. Witnesses said the Cessna U206F flew off-kilter, its nose too high. The plane crashed next to a vacant building on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Ingra Street, about a half-mile from the runway.

The Cavners' 4-year-old son, Myles, was killed. The other passengers -- Preston Cavner and his wife Stacie; their 2-year-old son, Hudson; and babysitter Rachel Zientek -- all suffered severe injuries.

Ace Aviation and Northwest Seaplanes settled with the plaintiffs before the trial, said Bob Hopkins, who represented Stacie Cavner, Zientek and her parents. He said the terms of the settlements were confidential. Court documents say Continental rebuilt the engine; Northwest Seaplanes replaced parts on the engine; and Ace Aviation serviced the aircraft and engine in Washington, and conducted an inspection of the work.


Preston Cavner was represented separately. He and his attorney wouldn't comment about the outcome of the case.


Hopkins said there were appealable issues being considered. He was able to make a claim that the plane engine was mismanufactured, and that Continental Motors failed to warn and properly instruct owners about that alleged issue. The plaintiffs weren’t able to bring forward another argument that the engine had a design defect, he said.


Jurors calculated damages totaling millions for the victims of the plane crash. The verdict absolved Continental from owing money. However, attorneys for Stacie Cavner and her sons filed cross-claims against Preston, arguing they didn’t blame him but if the jury found otherwise, judgments should be entered for injuries and damages.


Hopkins said he doesn’t know if his clients will seek the money. They don’t expect to be able to retrieve it, he said.


“We were disappointed in the result. We think we were precluded from putting on major parts of our case to the jury, which provided appealable issues under consideration right now,” Hopkins said.


Skinner (the defense attorney who represented Continental) disagreed. The jury sent a very strong message when it faulted Preston Cavner, he said.


“I really don’t think there is a valid argument given the evidence,” Skinner said.


The defense argued against the plaintiffs’ claim that the engine was somehow defective. As the trial wound down, Skinner asked jurors to focus on the accounts of about a dozen eyewitnesses to the crash.


Skinner traveled to Alaska to record video interviews with the witnesses for the trial. Attempts to move the trial from Washington to Alaska were unsuccessful, and showing the recordings in court was the most efficient course of action, he said.


The videos separately confirmed some of the findings of the NTSB accident report released in January 2011. The report’s findings weren’t admissible in court, Skinner said.


According to the report, the plane was overloaded by more than 650 pounds, including 400 pounds of lumber and 300 pounds of tile.


The report also includes an interview with a mechanic who "stated he saw the pilot operate the airplane in what he believed was an overweight condition on four or five separate occasions." The same mechanic said he had not seen the pilot weigh any cargo loaded into the plane on those occasions. 


Preston Cavner maintained he did not overload the plane prior to trial, according to Skinner. During the trial, he allegedly claimed two Alaska companies trained him to load planes at about 15 percent over their maximum gross weight, he said.


The owners of both companies -- Lake and Peninsula Air and Lake Clark Air Inc. -- signed declarations in March stating they never trained Cavner to load planes, let alone overload aircraft. 


Skinner said he interviewed many mechanics and seasoned aviators.


“He significantly overloaded the plane, and that’s essentially the case we put on. There wasn’t anything wrong with the engine, and I think from the results of the verdict, the jury got that very clearly,” he said.


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





NTSB Identification: ANC10FA048

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 01, 2010 in Anchorage, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/16/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA U206F, registration: N59352
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 4 Serious.

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 commercial pilot and four passengers, three of whom were of the pilot's immediate family, were departing in a single-engine airplane on a personal cross-country flight to their lodge. The airplane was loaded with lumber, building materials, groceries, personal luggage, plants, and other items for the lodge. Two witnesses said that just before it took off the airplane was loaded so heavily that its tires looked almost flat. 


The pilot reported to the NTSB that shortly after takeoff, at an estimated altitude of 150 feet, he raised the wing flaps from 30 degrees to 20 degrees, and the airplane began to sink. He said he started a slight right turn, but did not recall anything after that. According to multiple witnesses, the airplane was in an exaggerated nose-high, tail-low attitude, and struggling to climb as it approached the accident site. They related that the engine sounded loud, as if operating at full power, before it crashed into a parking lot and an unoccupied building. 


A postimpact fire, and cargo in the cabin, slowed rescuers from quickly removing the victims. Four of the occupants survived with serious burns and other injuries; the pilot’s 4-year-old son was killed.


The cargo remaining in the pod and cabin after the fire was weighed, and exemplar weights were used for the burned materials. Using conservative weights, which did not include some burned items like a large container of detergent, the airplane’s total weight was estimated to be at least 658.2 pounds over its allowable gross weight, with a center of gravity significantly beyond the aft-most limit. 


Both the aircraft and cargo pod manufacturer state maximum wing flap extension limits for takeoff; the aircraft manufacturer’s pilot operating handbook notes 20 degrees should be the maximum, and the cargo pod manufacturer notes a maximum of 10 degrees. Selecting more flap extension than recommended induces additional aerodynamic drag and adversely affects the airplane’s acceleration and ability to climb.


Federal air regulations require that children 2 years of age or older must be secured with a lap belt. Both of the child passengers, age 2 and 4 years, were not secured with a lap belt and were sitting on the two other passenger’s laps. During the crash sequence, the right front seat passenger was unable to hold onto the 4 year old. The child was pinned by the unsecured cargo and died in the fire.


Postaccident inspections of the airplane disclosed no preaccident mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. 


The excessive overloading of the airplane, coupled with the aft center of gravity and the pilot’s excessive use of flaps, placed the airplane well beyond its operating limitations, and made a successful takeoff highly improbable.


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

The pilot’s decision to load the airplane well beyond its allowable weight and center of gravity limits, resulting in a loss of control during the initial climb. Contributing to the severity of the injuries was the pilot’s decision to allow two child passengers to sit on other passenger's laps without restraints, and his failure to properly secure the cargo in the cabin. Also contributing was the pilot's excessive extension of the wing flaps.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT


On June 1, 2010, about 1705 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna U206F airplane, N59352, sustained substantial damage when it impacted an unoccupied building and terrain following a loss of control during the initial climb from runway 25 at the Merrill Field Airport, Anchorage, Alaska. A postcrash fire consumed much of the airplane. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, when the accident occurred. The airplane was owned by Cavner & Julian, Inc., Port Alsworth, Alaska. Of the five people on board, the commercial pilot/airplane owner and three passengers sustained serious injuries. The remaining passenger, the 4-year-old child of the pilot and the right front seat passenger, died at the scene. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was en route to the airplane owner’s lodge in Port Alsworth.

During on-scene interviews with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on June 1, witnesses reported that just after takeoff, the airplane was flying in a nose high, tail low attitude as it descended into the principally commercial area about 1/2 mile west of the Merrill Field Airport. One witness, who was also a pilot, commented that the airplane appeared to be “laboring” and possibly had an aft center of gravity or was very heavy. Another witness stated that the airplane was extremely nose high and tail low and was not climbing. The airplane was seen to enter a slight right turn, and then began to lose altitude before it crashed into an empty parking lot and adjacent unoccupied wood-framed single story building. 

Shortly after impact, the airplane began to burn, which eventually spread to a portion of the building. 

The crash site was adjacent to a major one-way north flowing roadway that serviced downtown Anchorage. Several witnesses and vehicle occupants went to the airplane to assist in removing the victims because of the imminent fire danger. Within a few minutes, law enforcement and fire department personnel arrived, put out the fire, and removed the remaining occupants. 

During an interview with the pilot, he stated to the NTSB IIC that he recalled taking off and thinking that everything was okay. He remarked that he departed with 30 degrees of flaps which he said was standard for the Cessna 206. At 150 feet above the ground, he raised the flaps from 30 degrees to 20 degrees and detected “an issue” with the airplane. He said he was concerned about maintaining his airspeed and not stalling. He remembered initiating a slight right turn, and said he did not recall anything after that.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 33, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and sea ratings. He was issued a second class airman medical certificate without limitations on March 18, 2010.

The pilot’s flight logbook was reviewed by the NTSB. The logbook covered the period from March 24, 2007, through May 26, 2010, and indicated that he had logged 1,717.9 hours total time and 81.1 hours in a Cessna 206, all of which were in the accident airplane. The time in the Cessna 206 was between March 20, and May 26, 2010. The pilot received instruction in the Cessna 206 March 20 through 21, 2010. On March 21, 2010, he completed the requirements of a flight review, and received an endorsement for acting as pilot in command of a high performance airplane.

The NTSB IIC interviewed an aviation mechanic/pilot who had interacted and flown with the pilot. This individual stated he saw the pilot operate the airplane in what he believed was an overweight condition on four or five separate occasions. He said that this was over a 4 week period of time, and he did not know if this was standard. He also stated that he had not seen the pilot weigh any of the cargo or perform a weight and balance calculation during this period of time.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane (serial number U20603221) was manufactured in 1976 and had a standard airworthiness certificate for normal operations. A Teledyne Continental Motors IO-520-F engine rated at 285 horsepower at 2,700 rpm powered the airplane. The engine was equipped with a three-blade, McCauley propeller.

The airplane was maintained under an annual inspection program. A review of the maintenance records indicated that an annual inspection was completed on August 14, 2009, at an airframe total time of 6,888.2 hours and a tachometer time of 6,978.2 hours. On March 24, 2010, at a tachometer time of 6,998.5 hours, the landing gear floats were replaced with wheel landing gear. On April 19, 2010, at a tachometer time of 7,008.5 hours, a gravel deflector kit was installed. 

An Aerocet cargo pack, supplemental type certificate STC)SA00096SE was installed on the airplane. According to a mechanic who assisted the pilot, the cargo pack was installed during the week of April 26, 2010. The mechanic stated the owner told him that he would have his “IA” [inspection authorized mechanic] conduct the updated weight and balance calculation later. No maintenance log entry or updated weight and balance calculation for the cargo pack was discovered during the investigation.

According to Aerocet Incorporated, the cargo pack weighed 35 pounds, and for weight and balance calculations, had an arm at installation of 51.0 inches, and a resultant moment of 1,785.0 pound-inches. The weight capacity of the cargo pack was 300 pounds. Aerocet provided a flight manual supplement with the cargo pack, which noted general cargo pack information, the limitations, emergency procedures, normal procedures, and performance. Specifically, this supplement stated that no more than 10 degrees of flaps should be used for takeoff for operations at weights above 3,450 pounds due to the effect of the cargo pack on climb performance. This supplement was not located in the wreckage or in the pilot operating handbook located with the wreckage.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

The closest official weather observation station was Merrill Field Airport (PAMR), Anchorage, Alaska, located 1/2 nautical mile (nm) east of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 137 feet mean sea level (msl). The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for PAMR, issued at 1653, reported, winds 200 degrees at 9 knots, visibility 10 miles, light rain, sky condition scattered at 4,000 feet, broken at 10,000 feet, temperature 15 degrees Celsius (C); dew point 7 degrees C; altimeter 29.48 inches.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was in a parking lot adjacent to a single story, unoccupied building on the northwest corner of Ingra and 7th street in downtown Anchorage. The accident site was at an elevation of 111 feet msl and the airplane impacted on a magnetic heading of 270 degrees.

An on scene examination revealed an impact mark on the multi-story building across the street (to the east) from the main wreckage. The tail cone and tail spring of the accident airplane were found in the parking lot below this building. One power line was down adjacent to the multi-story building. The main wreckage of the airplane came to rest on a heading of west, with the right side of the airplane against a mound of earth and concrete. The main wreckage consisted of the burned remains of the right wing and fuselage, the empennage, the left wing, the engine and propeller assembly, and cargo. 

The wreckage was recovered to a facility in Wasilla, Alaska, for further examination and documentation. 

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

In an interview with the 16-year-old rear left seat passenger, she stated that the pilot was in the front left seat, the pilot’s wife was in the front right seat, and the four-year-old passenger was unrestrained and seated on his mother’s lap in the front right seat. The two-year-old passenger sat unrestrained on her lap in the rear left seat. The two-year-old was not sharing a seatbelt with her; he was just sitting on her lap.

Multiple witnesses to the accident came to the aid of the occupants of the accident airplane as it was burning. Photographs and witness descriptions depict several volunteers holding up the left wing while others worked to gain access to the occupants through the left forward exit. One rescuer reported that the airplane cabin was loaded from floor to ceiling, and they had to remove some of the cargo to reach the occupants.

The pilot was the first occupant pulled from the airplane, followed by the two-year-old passenger, who was handed out by the rear seat passenger. The rear seat passenger was rescued next, followed by the front right seat passenger.

The front right seat passenger was unable to hold onto the four-year-old passenger during the impact sequence. During the impact, the cargo shifted, and trapped the child between the cargo and the instrument panel. This prevented initial responders from reaching his location.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

On June 2, 2010, an investigator from the NTSB separated airplane wreckage and cargo recovered from the accident site. The occupant’s packed clothing was laid out to dry, and food and grocery items were separated from the lumber and ceramic tile. 

On June 3, 2010, the NTSB IIC, two aviation safety inspectors from the FAA, and investigators from Cessna Aircraft Company, and Teledyne Continental Motors examined the sorted wreckage. 

The flight controls, including aileron cables, rudder cables, and elevator cables, were continuous except where they had been cut for transportation of the wreckage. Fuel screens were clean of contamination. The fuel selector valve was in the right fuel tank position. The elevator trim was set at 25 degrees tab up trim. The flap jack screw was measured to a position consistent with 25 degrees of flaps.

The finger screen on the engine driven fuel pump had contaminants across approximately 25 percent of the screen. The contaminants were permeable and were not a solid occlusion. The throttle control was partially open, the propeller control was at low pitch, and the mixture control was at idle cutoff. The spark plugs were clean. Further examination established continuity through the accessories, and valve train. Both magnetos produced spark when power was added.

All of the cargo items and lumber were weighed with a digital scale. See the section of this report titled “Additional Information” for the weight of each item from the accident wreckage. The cargo included a personal backpack full of medical equipment, a three-ring blow-up swimming pool, children’s clothing, floor mats, clothes hangers, pots and pans, a tool bag, ceramic tile, a yellow survival kit, a car battery, wet wipes, a suitcase containing personal effects and adult clothing, a bag containing a lap top, a bean bag toss game, several plastic totes/containers, laundry detergent, several tubes of construction adhesive, 55 pieces of lumber, and food including spice mixes, seasoning, fruits, raw meat, canned goods, pasta, rice, creamer, frozen foods, and soda.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Cessna Pilot’s Operating Handbook

According to the Cessna Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) for the Cessna U206F, Section 2 - Limitations – the maximum takeoff weight for the airplane was 3,600 pounds. The most forward center of gravity limit was 42.5 inches at 3,600 pounds and the most aft center of gravity limit was 49.7 inches. Section 4 – Normal Procedures – discussed the use of no more than 20 degrees of flaps for takeoff, both normal and maximum performance takeoff procedures.

Weight and Balance Calculations

The most recent weight and balance calculation for the airplane was documented on April 19, 2010. The empty weight of the airplane was calculated to be 2,165.5 pounds, resulting in a useful load of 1,434.5 pounds. As previously noted, this weight did not include the cargo pack.

The cargo was separated from the main wreckage on June 2, 2010, and allowed to dry. On June 3, 2010, the cargo was quantified and weighed. The following represents a conservative estimate of the weight of the cargo on the accident airplane. The weight of the lost fluid from the juice cans, laundry detergent, fruit, and other burnt items were not represented in this calculation.

55 pieces of lumber were documented:

43 pieces of 8 foot 2 x 4 – 9 pounds each – 387 pounds total
12 pieces of 8 foot 1 x 2.5 – 4 pounds each – 48 pounds total

The cargo, as listed previously in this report was sorted and weighed as follows:

Survival Kit – 15.2 pounds
Car Battery – 40.4 pounds
Tile – 333.1 pounds
Pots and Pans – 29.8 pounds
Food and Grocery Items – 173.4 pounds
Clothing – 72 pounds
Backpack – 16.2 pounds
Bag full of a mini pool and various items – 12 pounds
Tool Bag – 12.2 pounds
Laptop Backpack – 12 pounds

The pilot and passenger weights were documented using hospital medical records from their admission following the accident, in addition to the autopsy report for the fatality. The total occupant weight was 546.4 pounds.

The documented cargo, occupant weights, cargo pack, and estimated fuel load came to a total of 2,092.7 pounds. The gross weight of the airplane at the time of the accident was conservatively calculated to be 4,258.2 pounds or 658.2 pounds over the approved gross weight of the accident airplane. The exact location of each piece of cargo could not be determined. The center of gravity at the time of the accident was estimated to range between 53.65 inches and 58.522 inches, or between 3.95 and 8.82 inches aft of the rear-most allowable limit.

Title 14 CFR Part 91.9 required that the pilot comply with the operating limitation represented in the approved airplane flight manual. The FAA Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Chapter 9 – Weight and Balance, provided guidance for performing a weight and balance calculation; however, the FAA Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge did not provide guidance regarding the risk of estimating the weight of passengers and cargo as opposed to physically weighing the passengers and cargo. The handbook did state that it may not be “possible to fill all of the seats, baggage compartments, and fuel tanks and still remain within the approved weight and balance limits.”

Cargo and Load Distribution

Multiple witnesses at Merrill field saw the pilot loading the airplane the day prior and the day of the accident flight. Several commented that the airplane was full and it was difficult to see where the passengers were sitting due to all of the cargo. Other witnesses reported that the tires were extremely low or flat, due to the excessive weight of the cargo on the airplane.

In an interview with the rear left seat passenger, she stated that lumber, food, tile, grout or mortar, and clothing were on the airplane. There was a “ton” of wood next to her seat. She estimated that there were 30 to 35 pieces of two by four lumber. The lumber was on the floor and some lumber was jutted up against the back of the front right seat, and some of the lumber extended forward between the front right and front left seats. There were also 10 to 15 boxes of ceramic tile on top of the wood. Several bins of food and her luggage were placed behind her in the rear of the airplane.

During an interview with the pilot, he stated that his estimation of the cargo, passengers, and fuel for the accident flight was 1,400 pounds to 1,450 pounds. He stated that all of the cargo weights were estimated, and not physically weighed. Specifically, he also stated that he had 360 pounds of fuel on board. The pilot said that he loaded one heavy item towards the front of the cargo pack, and lighter items towards the rear of the cargo pack. He put plants on top of the cargo in the cabin.

The pilot indicated that he did not use straps or a cargo net to secure the cargo in the cabin. He used twine or nylon to secure the tote and suit cases. He stated that the load was stable, and after he put the potted plants on top of the cargo, there was no room for shifting.

Federal Aviation Regulations

Part 91.107 (1) “No pilot may take off a U.S.-registered civil aircraft unless the pilot in command of that aircraft ensures that each person on board is briefed on how to fasten and unfasten that person’s safety belt and, if installed, shoulder harness…(3) Except as provided in this paragraph, each person on board a U.S.-registered civil aircraft must occupy an approved seat or berth with a safety belt and, if installed, shoulder harness, properly secured about him or her during movement on the surface, takeoff, and landing… Notwithstanding the preceding requirements of this paragraph, a person may: (i) Be held by an adult who is occupying an approved seat or berth provided that the person being held has not reached his or her second birthday and does not occupy or use any restraining device.

The FAA did not have a definition of adult as it pertains to this regulation. At the writing of this report, a definition or interpretation of adult has not been provided to the NTSB IIC.

FAA Hotline

The FAA has several avenues available to the public if they want to report their knowledge of an unsafe operation in the aviation community. This report can be done anonymously. The telephone numbers are 1-866-835-5322 (1-866-TELL-FAA) or 1-800-255-1111.