Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Beech 65-A90-1 King Air, N7MC, registered to and operated by the Saint Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District: Fatal accident occurred April 19, 2016 near Slidell Airport (KASD), St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Saint Tammany Mosquito Abatement District; Slidell, Louisiana


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


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

Mosquito Abatement District: http://registry.faa.gov/N7MC

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA158
14 CFR Public Aircraft
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 19, 2016 in Slidell, LA
Aircraft: BEECH 65 A90 1, registration: N7MC
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

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 Slidell Municipal Airport (ASD), 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 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 public aircraft operations flight . Night visual meteorological conditions existed at the airport at the time of the accident, and the flight was operating on a visual flight rules flight plan. The local flight originated about 2000.

After completing a planned mosquito abatement application flight, the pilots radioed their intention to land at ASD. The accident pilots were flying a visual pattern to runway 18, and another company airplane was behind them conducting a practice GPS approach to runway 18. When the pilot of the other company airplane radioed that they had crossed the GPS approach's final approach fix, the accident pilot radioed that they were on the left base leg and were number one to land at the airport. Seconds later, the pilots of the other company airplane saw a blue arc of electricity, followed shortly after by a plume of fire. The accident pilots could not be reached on the radio, and the company pilots notified emergency personnel. The airplane was located in a marsh about 0.6 nautical mile north-northwest of the approach end of runway 18.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Pilot

The left seat pilot, age 59, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. In addition, he held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single-engine and instrument airplane. He was issued a second-class medical certificate, dated February 18, 2016, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision. On his medical application, the pilot reported that he used hydrochlorothiazide and irbesartan.

As of December 11, 2015, the pilot reported accruing 6,825 hours of single-engine total time with 50 hours logged in the preceding 6 months and 952 hours of multiengine total time with 15 hours logged in the preceding year. His flight time in the Beech C90 was 15 hours with 5 hours logged in the preceding year. He estimated that he had 7,762 total hours with 1,135 hours of night time, 10 hours of actual instrument time, and 305 hours of simulated instrument time. He reported his last biennial flight review occurred in February 2014.

Company records showed that the pilot flew the accident airplane for 7.4 hours in 2015 and 5.7 hours in 2014. On July 1, 2015, the pilot was approved by the aerial operations supervisor to act as pilot-in-command for the accident airplane and a Britten-Norman BN-2T airplane, N717MC.

Copilot

The copilot, age 68, who was in the right seat, held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings in airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane and helicopter. He also held a commercial pilot certificate for airplane single-engine sea and a flight instructor certificate for airplane single and multiengine, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane and helicopter. He was issued a second-class medical certificate, dated July 14, 2015, with the limitation that he must have available glasses for near vision. On his medical application, the copilot reported that he used diltiazem, losartan, pravastatin, metoprolol, etodolac, pantoprazole, sildenafil, and warfarin.

As of February 25, 2016, the pilot reported accruing 4,310 hours of single-engine total time with 50 hours logged in the preceding 6 months and 5,910 hours of multiengine time with 105 hours logged in the preceding year. His flight time in the Beech C90 was 627 hours with 59 hours logged in the preceding year. He estimated that he had 18,163 total hours with 4,619 hours of night time, 2,199 hours of actual instrument time, and 431 hours of simulated instrument time. He reported that his last biennial flight review occurred in February 2014.

The copilot was also the department's aerial operations supervisor. He had worked for the Saint Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District for 31 years. According to other company pilots, although the copilot was the more senior pilot, he was seated in the right seat and would have been performing copilot duties.

Both pilots had flown the accident airplane together on April 4, 7, 8, 11, and 18, 2015, for a total of 6.9 hours. Each flight ended in a night landing to ASD. On the forms for each of the flights, the area for "comments and/or mechanical problems" was blank.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The low-wing, twin engine airplane was manufactured in 1968. It was powered by two 550-shaft- horsepower Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-20 turboprop engines. Each engine drove a three-blade, variable-pitch, full-feathering Hartzell HC-B3TN-3B propeller. The airplane was operated as a public aircraft operations flight by the Saint Tammany Parish of Louisiana for mosquito abatement purposes.

The airplane's most recent inspection was a combined Phase I through IV and annual inspection recorded on December 1, 2015, at an airframe total time of 15,189.6 hours. On that date, the left engine had accrued 9,676.6 hours since new and 1,638.4 hours since overhaul. The right engine had accrued 7,413 total hours since new and 1,248.5 hours since overhaul. Airplane forms filled out before the flight showed that the airplane had logged 15,207.1 total hours.

The airplane was originally manufactured as a US Army U-21D. It remained in military service until 1995 when it was sold to a civilian company. In 1998, the airplane was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a Beechcraft 65A90-1 and issued a special airworthiness certificate for restricted use for the purpose of agriculture and pest control. The airplane was acquired by the Saint Tammany Parish in June 2012. The airplane was equipped with a radar altimeter and had controls installed in both pilot seats.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

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

Astronomical data from the US Navy Observatory indicated that the moon rose on the day of the accident at 1730 and set the following morning at 0541. The moon disk illumination was 94%.

COMMUNICATIONS

The accident pilots were communicating on the airport's common traffic advisory radio frequency (CTAF), which was not recorded. The pilots in the company airplane who were also on the CTAF reported no distress calls before the accident.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

ASD is located 4 miles northwest of Slidell, Louisiana, and is a publicly owned, nontowered airport that is open to the public. The airport is at an elevation of 28 ft mean sea level. It has a 5,002 ft long, 100 ft wide asphalt runway aligned with 18/36. Runway 18 has a displaced threshold with a published landing distance of 4,057 ft. It is lit with medium-intensity runway lighting and runway end identifier lights, which are preset to low intensity between the hours of dusk and dawn. There is precision approach path indicator lightning (PAPI) located on the left side of the runway, configured for a 3.0° glideslope.

The other company pilots reported that the airfield lighting was illuminated and that the PAPI operated normally.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane initially impacted two 70- to 80-ft-tall towers that suspended high-power transmission lines . The lines generally ran on a heading of 150°/330° and, due to their height, were not required to be illuminated. Ceramic isolators were shattered on the northern pole, and the top guide wire was damaged on the southern pole. A portion of the airplane's lower chemical tank and left wing tip were found directly beneath the poles. The airplane's debris path followed a 175° heading in marshy terrain for about 555 ft.

The main wreckage came to rest about 0.6 nautical mile northwest of runway 18's approach end. The main wreckage consisted of the metal hopper tank frame, the upper portion of the fuselage, cockpit instrumentation, inboard left wing, outboard right wing, left horizontal, vertical stabilizer, rudder, and the left engine with its propeller. A postimpact fire consumed a majority of the cabin structure. The airplane's nose was generally aligned with 350° magnetic, and the fuselage was inverted.

Flight control continuity was confirmed to all surfaces. The flaps were in the retracted position. The elevator and rudder trim positions could not be determined due to impact damage. The fuel selector position could not be determined. The emergency locator transmitter (ELT) was still attached to the airplane, and the antenna and was found in the "armed" position, but it was thermally damaged. The company pilots in the other airplane reported that they did not hear any ELT beacon.

Both pilots' restraint hardware remained latched; the webbing was consumed by fire. The left fuel flow gauge read 400 pounds per hour and the right fuel gauge read 250 pounds per hour. The cockpit instrumentation was impact and thermally damaged and was largely unreadable. The right inlet turbine temperature gauge read about 700°. The left propeller speed read about 1,100 rpm.
The right engine was impact-separated and found upright. Its propeller remained attached to the engine. Two of the three blades displayed S-bending with nicks on their leading edges. Examination of the left propeller blades found one blade almost completely consumed by the postcrash fire. Another blade was partially consumed and displayed curling with a rearward bend. The third blade was curled and bent rearward. No anomalies were detected with the airframe and engine.

A thermally damaged SD card was recovered from the airplane's ADAPCO Wingman GX system and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board laboratory for data extraction. Due to the damage sustained in the accident, the chips on the card were not recoverable.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Pilot

The St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy showed no natural diseases that could have posed a potential hazard to flight safety.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. Testing was negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. The following drugs were detected:

Ibuprofen detected in urine
Irbesartan detected in urine
Irbesartan detected in blood

The pilot had previously reported the use of irbesartan, which is used to treat high blood pressure, to the FAA. Ibuprofen is a nonnarcotic analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent and is available in prescription and nonprescription forms.

Copilot

The St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office conducted an autopsy on the copilot. Although the autopsy did note several chronic medical conditions, there did not appear to be any natural diseases that posed an immediate hazard to flight safety.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the copilot. Testing was negative for ethanol and 15% carbon monoxide was detected in blood from the heart. The following drugs were detected:

Diltiazem detected in urine
Diltiazem detected in blood (heart)
Metoprolol detected in urine
Metoprolol NOT detected in blood (heart)
Rosuvastatin detected in urine
Rosuvastatin detected in blood (heart)
Warfarin detected in urine
Warfarin detected in blood (heart)

The copilot had previously reported all of the detected medications except the rosuvastatin to the FAA. Rosuvastatin is a prescription medication used to reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The FAA's Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A), dated 2008, Chapter 10, "Night Operations," states the following:
Night Illusions

A black-hole approach occurs when the landing is made from over water or non-lighted terrain where the runway lights are the only source of light. Without peripheral visual cues to help, pilots will have trouble orientating themselves relative to Earth. The runway can seem out of position (downsloping or upsloping) and in the worse case, results in landing short of the runway. If an electronic glide slope or visual approach slope indicator (VASI) is available, it should be used. If navigation aids (NAVAIDs) are unavailable, careful attention should be given to using the flight instruments to assist in maintaining orientation and a normal approach. If at any time the pilot is unsure of his or her position or attitude, a go-around should be executed.

Approaches and Landings

To fly a traffic pattern of proper size and direction, the runway threshold and runway-edge lights must be positively identified. Once the airport lights are seen, these lights should be kept in sight throughout the approach. Distance may be deceptive at night due to limited lighting conditions. A lack of intervening references on the ground and the inability of the pilot to compare the size and location of different ground objects cause this. This also applies to the estimation of altitude and speed. Consequently, more dependence must be placed on flight instruments, particularly the altimeter and the airspeed indicator.

The altimeter and VSI [vertical speed indicator] should be constantly cross-checked against the airplane's position along the base leg and final approach. A visual approach slope indicator (VASI) is an indispensable aid in establishing and maintaining a proper glidepath.


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.


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.



The mosquito abatement plane that crashed at Slidell Municipal Airport last month, killing two pilots, collided with high-power transmission line towers, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board. In response, Slidell officials are renewing efforts to get those lines near the airport’s north runway approach relocated or buried.

Airport manager Richard Artigue said Tuesday that even though the towers conform with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, local officials have long recognized they pose a potential safety hazard for aircraft. The April 19 crash proved those fears were valid, he said.

Wayne Fisher, 68, and Donald Pechon, 59, were both experienced pilots, Artigue said. Fisher, a reserve deputy with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, also flew a helicopter for that agency.

Many of the pilots who use the airport are far less experienced, he said, and the airport is heavily used by student pilots.



Moving the lines would not be easy, however.

Both Artigue and Slidell City Councilman Val Vanney, whose district includes the airport, said the project would cost millions of dollars and require the cooperation of numerous players, from Entergy and Cleco, the two utility companies that own the lines, to the state and federal governments.

“One company or one person can’t do it,” Artigue said, adding that it would take federal money.

City officials met last week with executives of Cleco, which owns the inner power transmission lines. Vanney described the company as cooperative. Officials also plan to contact Entergy, which owns the outer lines.

The Slidell City Council had been poised to vote Tuesday night on a resolution asking the companies to relocate their overhead lines as far as possible from the airport or else to bury the lines. The resolution called the relocation “absolutely necessary for the safety of pilots” and urged the companies to “act as expeditiously as possible.”

But Vanney said he was withdrawing the resolution in light of Cleco’s expressed willingness to work with the city and the complexity and cost of the project.

The work will require the support of state officials and Louisiana’s congressional delegation because of the cost, he said.

Artigue said Slidell officials don’t want to appear to be blaming anyone for the accident.

But the accident is giving new impetus to efforts to get the lines moved, something Artiguqe said former Mayor Ben Morris had pushed to do.

“We don’t want to try to put the blame on anyone,” Artigue said. “We do want to do something in the name of safety.”

Vanney noted that the only other fatal crash at the Slidell airport happened in 1974.

Some officials speculated immediately after the crash that engine trouble had played a role, but the NTSB report does not mention that. Instead, it makes it clear that the Beech 65 collided with the towers as it was making its approach to land at the airport after aerial spraying for mosquitos.

“The initial point of impact was damage to two towers suspending high-power transmission lines,” the report says. “These two towers were 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 report notes that it was a clear, calm night with visibility at 10 miles.

Another mosquito district plane that was preparing to land at the airport about the same time reported seeing an arc of electricity followed shortly by a plume of fire from the ground.

The plane’s wreckage was found in a marsh just north of the approach end of Runway 18.

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

Story and photo gallery:  http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com

New Jersey Court Holds No Coverage for Skydiving Accident: Sussex Airport (KFWN)

by Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP

In its recent decision in U.S. Specialty Ins. Co. v. Sussex Airport, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60770 (D.N.J. May 9, 2016), the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey had occasion to consider the phrase “arising out of” when used in an exclusion to coverage.

United Specialty insured Sussex Airport under an airport liability policy.  The policy contained a parachute jumping exclusion applicable to “bodily injury or property damage arising out of the conduct of or participation in, or preparation for, any parachuting activities.”  Notwithstanding this exclusion, Sussex sought coverage under the policy for an injury that happened at a skydiving event that took place at the airport but that was organized by a tenant of Sussex’s.  While United Specialty provided Sussex with a defense in the underlying suit, it brought a declaratory judgment action, seeking a ruling that the parachuting exclusion operated to preclude any defense or indemnity obligation.

Sussex argued that the exclusion applied only if the insured itself, i.e., Sussex, was directly involved in the skydiving event, and as such, the exclusion should not apply because the skydiving event in the underlying suit was not organized and operated by Sussex, but rather by a non-insured.  The court disagreed, noting that under New Jersey law, the phrase “arising out of” must be interpreted broadly, meaning any substantial nexus between the insured and the excluded activity.  With this in mind, the court agreed with United Specialty’s position that the exclusion applied to any parachuting activities taking place at the Sussex Airport, regardless of whether organized by an entity other than Sussex.  As the court explained, adopting Sussex’s reading of the exclusion “would require the Court to rewrite the Exclusion such that it only applies where bodily injury occurred due to actions taken directly by the insured.”

In addition to holding that United Specialty did not have a duty to defend, the court held that United Specialty was entitled to reimbursement of defense costs it had already expended in the underlying suit.  Such a result, it reasoned, follows from New Jersey law permitting an insurer to allocate between covered and non-covered causes of action where the distinction can be readily made.  Since no aspect of the underlying suit came within the United Specialty policy, explained the court, the entirety of defense costs paid by United Specialty were made in connection with non-covered causes of action, and therefore subject to reimbursement.

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

Air ambulances may be called when they aren't needed to keep for-profit service from leaving markets: Low call volumes lead to regionalization



CITRUS SPRINGS, Fla. - In March, the I-Team and the ABC News Brian Ross Unit reported how Air Methods, the nation's largest air ambulance service, charges patients high rates for helicopter rides that aren't covered by most insurance policies.

A Citrus County family has now come forward, saying they believe that in their case an air ambulance was called when it wasn’t needed just so the service doesn't go away.

Air Methods flew 100,000 patients last year, or about one out of every four air ambulance transports in the United States.

“We serve 82 million rural Americans across the country who would not have access to trauma care within the critical hour or what's called ‘the golden hour,’” said Paul Webster, Air Methods vice president, told ABC News.

But Donna Nichols believes a flight that transported her husband may not have been necessary. 

Chris Nichols, a popular basketball coach at Lecanto High School, was an Air Methods patient six years ago.

“I got a call stating my husband was in a bicycling accident in Citrus Springs and that a helicopter was coming to get him,” said Donna Nichols.

Nichols hit a patch of gravel and fell off his bike.

When Donna reached the scene a half hour later, Chris was still there, alert and conscious.

“Putting him in an ambulance and taking him to Shands would have been 45 minutes,” Donna Nichols said. “So if you're dealing with this golden hour, the golden hour was there by ground travel. There was no reason to call in a helicopter."

It took the crew 98 minutes to get Chris to the hospital after flying in from another county. 

A company representative told Citrus County Commissioners a few months after Chris Nichols’ accident that that the local base was closed months earlier because there weren't enough calls.

Aeromed, which was operated as a partnership between Air Methods and Tampa General Hospital at the time, appeared before the commission to request a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity to continue to operate the air ambulance service in Citrus County.

“If we didn't negotiate a way to increase our volume and increase the need for the helicopter, then we were gonna have to close up and would not be around at all,” Aeromed Representative John Scott told commissioners.

Air Methods has closed other Florida bases to cut costs. 

“They have to have volume. They have to have a market in order to stay alive,” Scott said.

In 2013, TGH subsequently selected another helicopter provider for its Aeromed air ambulance service “due to concerns about the consistency in the services provided by Air Methods," it stated in a letter presented by TGH Aeromed to Polk County Fire Rescue.

A report says after air methods closed its Tallahassee base, average response times jumped from 20 to 35 minutes, and helicopters were often unavailable.  

“When there is a public company or company that has to make a profit at the end of the day, we get away from maybe the one or two flights for patients that really have those critical needs to then just having to fly people in order to service a certain area,” said Stephen Barbieri, Nichols’ attorney and a former member of his basketball team.

"Eighty percent of our costs are fixed. So whether we fly or not, we're incurring those costs. So when you ask what is the cost per transport? That all depends on how many transports there are, obviously,” said Webster.

Air Methods has also recently raised rates.

“Well, I think it's necessary to have doubled the price over the last five years,” Webster said, citing larger numbers of Medicare and Medicaid patients being transported.

Reimbursement rates for those cases are about $5,000 each.

Webster says the actual cost to transport each patient is around $10,500.

The company posted $108 million in profits last year, averaging nearly $1,100 per patient, based on 100,000 transports the company said it had last year.

Webster says Air Methods loses money on seven out of 10 patient transports.

The Nichols say they can't afford to put profits into investors' pockets.

Chris retired early from his job teaching and coaching at Lecanto High School due to multiple strokes and a dangerous infection unrelated to his bicycle accident.

Donna had to take time off work to care for him.

Air Methods originally wrote off the Nichols’ $11,000 bill, turning it over to collections.

In 2014, the company sued the Nichols for the balance, along with interest and legal costs.

“It's wrong that we have to worry about this,” said Chris Nichols.

On Tuesday, the Nichols agreed to settle their case with Air Methods for a smaller percentage of the amount the company says they still owe.

Barbieri and some of his former teammates at Lecanto High School hope to help the Nichols pay Air Methods the remainder of what they owe.

They hope to announce future fundraisers to help the family, but in the meantime, are accepting donations through the non-profit Citrus Youth Basketball organization.

You can access that organization's website at www.citrusyouthbasketball.com

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

Norwalk-Huron County Airport (5A1) financial condition improves

The Huron County Airport’s financial situation has appeared to improve during the course of the past month.

Just 30 days ago, the airport’s cash balance was down to about $3,600.

At Monday’s airport board meeting, the cash-in-bank total was at $34,749, though the board members did approve paying $6,059 of invoices.

“We’re moving out the red, slowly,” said Harry Brady, airport board president.

Brady thanked the county commissioners for the recent check for about $23,000. That money was paid to the county on land farmed at the airport.

In April, the airport sold 628 gallons of AvGas for a total of $2,816.

Big things are planned this year at the facility, including the completion of runway improvements.

The board approved a resolution authorizing a $130,373 apron rehabilitation grant and $16,000 in matching funds for an airport improvement plan grant application.

“We’re currently in dialogue with the Friends (of the Huron County Airport) for matching funds,” Brady said. “Hopefully, we can have that completely settled by next meeting. We want to make sure we get the airport up to where we can, but it takes money to do it.”

In other business, board member Randy Birchfield said the airport could use a few volunteers to help with the hangar lights.

Dan LeClair, president of the Friends, said if Birchfield could get him the dates, he could provide volunteers.

The board thanked local pilot Royden Smith for renting his lift to the facility to assist changing the hangar lights.

The board approved the spending of $100 for the restoration of the Wind-T, which includes lights.

The airport might be closed for three to five days the week of May 23 so the airport runway improvement project can be finished.

Also, board members agreed to the installation of two culvert pipes and stone on the west side of the property. This is an access area to airport fields for farmers.

“It is nice to pick up leases,” Brady said about a new hangar tenant.

Board members discussed different options for removing loose stone on the tarmac in front of the commercial hangar. Brady suggested 15 or 20 people with push brooms might work. It was noted that a machine equipped with brushes might do more damage than good to the tarmac due to its poor condition.

Finally, Trevor Rood, owner of Foghorn Designs, said his company has planned a customer appreciation event for Sept. 17 and wanted to include the airport. Foghorn operates out of the commercial building at the airport.

And, John Beck, who does maintenance and mechanical work at the airport, asked the board about raceway park lights located near the runway. 

Brady, along with board member Melissa James, told Beck the board, Federal Aviation Administration and Ohio Department of Transportation are “working on that.” 

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

Beech B24R Sierra, N2052L: Accident occurred May 10, 2016 near Pine Mountain Lake Airport (E45), Groveland, Tuolumne County, California

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

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA105 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 10, 2016 in Groveland, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/06/2017
Aircraft: BEECH B24R, registration: N2052L
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

The passenger, who was a student pilot, recently purchased the airplane in an estate sale. He and the airline transport pilot, both of whom lived in Mississippi, had traveled to California to retrieve the airplane and fly it back to Mississippi. Before the purchase, the airplane had not been maintained, operated, or flown in almost 11 years. Following the purchase, the owner contracted with a mechanic in California to ensure the airplane was in airworthy condition, which the mechanic reportedly did. The day before the accident, the pilot and owner took the airplane for its first flight after its dormant period and flew one uneventful circuit in the airport traffic pattern, as planned. The following day, the pilot and owner planned to fly the airplane for some systems evaluations. During that takeoff attempt from runway 9, the airplane became airborne but failed to climb and struck trees and terrain beyond the runway end. Although the pilot believed that he was taking off into the wind, witness statements and other evidence indicated that the takeoff was attempted with an approximate 5-knot tailwind. The first 1,000 ft of the runway was level, but the remaining 2,000 ft was sloped uphill. Although the Pilot’s Operating Handbook specified using 15° flaps for takeoff, and the pilot reported that he used that setting and did not alter the flap position during the flight, the flaps were found to have been fully retracted at impact.

Surveillance camera imagery captured about 2 seconds of the flight, when the airplane was about midfield and 4 ft above ground level (agl). Review of that imagery and audio data indicated that the ground speed was about 68 knots and that the engine speed was about 2,640 rpm; both values were consistent with normal takeoff values. However, the exact winds (and thus airspeed) were unknown, and because the propeller was a constant-speed model, nominal takeoff rpm could be achieved even if the engine was not developing full-rated power.

Detailed examination of the airplane, including the engine, revealed that, although its condition was not in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration and manufacturer guidance, none of the observed deficiencies could have caused or contributed to the loss of climb performance, except for one magneto that was found to be mistimed to the engine by 7°. Evidence suggested that this was likely a result of the accident but that could not be determined with certainty. Performance calculations conducted by the airplane manufacturer, which accounted for most of the known takeoff conditions, including fully retracted flaps, indicated that the distance to 50 ft agl was slightly more than the available runway. The estimated airplane takeoff weight was about 300 lbs (11%) below the maximum takeoff weight that was used in the calculations, which would yield better performance than the calculated results. However, those calculations did not account for off-nominal values of the many other variables that could adversely affect takeoff performance, including pilot technique, airframe and engine deterioration, and inaccurate or improperly set instrumentation and controls. Thus, although a successful downwind takeoff with no flaps was unlikely, it might have been possible, but there were too many other unknowns to determine its likelihood with greater certainty.

The reason(s) for the retracted flaps could not be determined. It is possible that the pilot forgot to extend them or that they were inadvertently and unknowingly retracted. Given the location of the flap control switch and its design (momentary, paddle-type), it is possible that the pilot extended the flaps to the proper takeoff setting of 15° but that they were subsequently retracted when the nonpilot passenger inadvertently contacted and actuated the flap control. The size and location of the flap position indicator gauge, combined with the location of the flaps (behind the pilot on the low-wing airplane), minimized the possibility that the pilot would notice that they had been retracted.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's decision to conduct an upslope, downwind takeoff combined with an improper flap setting, which resulted in the airplane's inability to clear trees beyond the runway end. The reason for the improper flap setting could not be determined.

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fresno, California 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N2052L

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA105
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 10, 2016 in Groveland, CA
Aircraft: BEECH B24R, registration: N2052L
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 10, 2016, about 1215 Pacific daylight time, a Beech B24R Sierra, N2052L, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during an attempted departure from Pine Mountain Lake Airport (E45), Groveland, California. The pilot and the passenger/owner received minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The passenger, who was a student pilot, recently purchased the airplane in an estate sale. Both the pilot and owner lived in Mississippi, and had traveled to E45 to retrieve the airplane, and fly it back to Mississippi. The airplane was domiciled at E45, and had not been maintained, operated, or flown in over 10 years. Subsequent to his purchase, the new owner contracted with a mechanic at E45 to conduct maintenance on the airplane, in preparation for the flight to Mississippi.

The day prior to the accident, both fuel tanks were filled, and the pilot and owner took the airplane for its first flight after its dormant period. The airplane departed on runway 27, and flew one circuit in the airport traffic pattern, as planned. That flight was uneventful. The next day, the pilot and owner planned to again fly the airplane, this time departing the area for some systems evaluations, before returning to E45. This takeoff attempt, which terminated in the accident, was conducted on runway 9. The pilot reported that the first part of the takeoff roll and liftoff "appeared normal but during or at gear retraction the aircraft started losing power." He stated that with about 1,000 feet of runway remaining, the engine "was not producing enough power to climb or accelerate," and that it was apparent the airplane was not going to clear the trees beyond the runway end. The pilot focused on attempting to climb, while simultaneously avoiding a stall.

The airplane struck trees and a utility pole, and then thick underbrush and the ground. The airplane came to rest about 1,800 feet beyond the end of the runway, at a point slightly north (left) of the extended runway centerline. The fracture-separated outboard right wing was located adjacent to the utility pole, and the engine had separated from the fuselage. The fuselage was slightly crumpled and otherwise deformed, but the cabin retained its normal occupiable volume. There was no fire.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Pilot

The pilot reported that for both flights, he was seated in the left front seat, and was the sole manipulator of the controls. He held an airline transport pilot certificate, and reported about 22,800 total hours of flight experience, including about 4,310 hours in single engine airplanes. Prior to his flight in the airplane the day before the accident, the pilot had no experience in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent flight review was completed in May 2015, and his most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued in January 2015.

Owner

The owner was seated in the right front seat for both flights. He reported that he held a student pilot certificate, but had no experience in the accident airplane make and model, and was only an observer on the two fights.

Mechanic

The individual who conducted the maintenance on the airplane for the new owner, and who most recently made entries in, and signed, the airplane maintenance records, resided and had a hangar at E45. He also owned and operated a repair facility, Buchner Aircraft Specialties, at Fresno Chandler Executive Airport (FCH) in Fresno, California. According to FAA records, the individual had previously held a mechanic certificate, with Airframe, Powerplant, and Inspection Authorization (IA) ratings. However, during the period when the mechanic performed the maintenance on the accident airplane and returned it to service, his IA rating was not valid, due to its expiration more than a year prior.

FAA regulations require that IA ratings be renewed biennially, or they become invalid. One renewal method allows the applicant to take approved classes within a specified period near the end of their biennial period. If an applicant fails to renew in that manner within the designated timeframe, they must take specified FAA tests to re-validate their IA rating.

In March 2015, for undetermined reasons, the mechanic did not renew his IA rating within the designated period. He then attempted to re-validate his IA rating by taking the required FAA tests, but he did not successfully pass them; thus his IA rating remained expired/invalid.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

FAA information indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1976, and was equipped with retractable landing gear, and a Lycoming IO-360-A1B6 series engine. The engine drove a constant-speed, two-blade propeller. The airplane's most recent FAA registration expired in 2011.

Excluding the maintenance conducted just prior to the accident, the most recent annual inspection had been completed in December 2005.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

E45 was not equipped with any official weather sensing or recording equipment. Resident and eyewitness reports indicated that about the time of the accident, the temperature was about 75 degrees F (23 C), and there was a light wind from the west. An individual who was a flight instructor and FAA-designated pilot examiner estimated that the tailwind component along runway 9 was about 5 knots.

Calculations using the available information indicated that the temperature was about 14 degrees C above the standard atmosphere value ("ISA"), and that the resulting density altitude was 4,686 feet.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

E45 was situated at an elevation of 2,933 feet above mean sea level, and was equipped with a single paved runway designated 9/27, which measured 3,624 ft by 50 ft. The western-most 1,000 ft segment of the runway was relatively level, but then the runway sloped uphill beyond that (towards the east). The slope of that uphill portion was not constant; a maximum up slope of 1.8 per cent was present for the segment between 2,500 and 3,000 ft from the threshold of runway 9. The overall average gradient was 1.1 per cent.

There was a 100 ft gravel overrun at the east end of the runway. Beyond that, the terrain descended about 30 feet, but that region was populated with numerous trees as high as about 100 feet.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

FAA inspectors examined the wreckage the day after the accident, before it was recovered. The airplane struck several trees and came to rest upright, in dense undergrowth. The cabin and fuselage remained relatively intact, which afforded protection for the occupants during impact. Both wings sustained significant impact damage, but remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing remained securely attached. The right wing was partially fracture-separated at the wing root, and its outboard end was fracture-separated; it was found at the base of the power pole that was struck about 20 feet agl. The ailerons and flaps remained attached to their respective wings. The right fuel tank was breached, but the left tank was full of fuel. The vertical stabilizer remained securely attached to the aft fuselage, and the rudder remained securely attached to the vertical stabilizer. The stabilator remained securely attached to the aft fuselage, and the pitch trim tab remained securely attached to the stabilator.

The engine was fracture-separated from the airframe, and came to rest inverted, about 10 feet ahead of the airplane. Both blades of the propeller remained securely installed in the propeller hub, and the hub remained attached to the engine.

All components of the airframe were accounted for, and were located in the debris path, or on or near the airplane. A detailed examination of the recovered wreckage was conducted a few weeks after the accident. There was no evidence of any in-flight or post-accident fire. No evidence consistent with any pre-impact malfunctions or failures of any airframe components that would have precluded continued normal operation was observed.

The fuselage had been cut for recovery, but flight control continuity was established for all flight controls. The cockpit stabilator trim tab indicator was observed to be set within the normal takeoff range. The stabilator trim actuator extension measurement was consistent with a stabilator trim tab position of 10º training edge down. However, because the fuselage had been cut and otherwise disturbed for the recovery, these values could not be considered to represent the takeoff pitch trim setting.

Witness marks on both sides of the fuselage, and on the inboard ends of both flaps, indicated that the flaps were in the retracted position at the time of impact. This was corroborated by flap jackscrew extension and cockpit position indicator information. The cockpit flap control was a momentary paddle-type switch, and the flap position indicator was a circular display with a face diameter of about 1 inch. Both were situated on the right side instrument sub-panel, just to the right of the center-mounted engine control quadrant.

Damage patterns were consistent with the landing gear being near- or fully-retracted at the time of impact; the three landing gear were essentially undamaged. The landing gear control handle was in the UP position.

The airspeed indicator was properly marked; the colored speed arcs were in accordance with the Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) values.

All three engine control (throttle, mixture, and propeller) push-pull cables had been fracture-separated from their respective engine components, at locations forward of the firewall; all three exhibited continuity from the cockpit control to the fracture locations forward of the firewall.

The fuel boost pump switch was set to the OFF, and the fuel selector valve was set to the right tank. Detailed examination of the airframe fuel system, including operation of the fuel boost pump and internal inspections of all components, did not reveal any indications of any pre-impact anomalies or deficiencies that would have precluded normal operation.

The engine bore no evidence of any pre-impact damage or failures. The engine-driven fuel pump was fracture-separated from the engine. The pump diaphragm was intact, and the engine actuator lever functioned with engine rotation. The fuel flow divider (distribution valve) and the fuel servo internal components were generally clean and intact. All lines and fittings were found to be secure. The spark plugs were new. Manual rotation of the engine resulted in thumb compression at all cylinders, in the proper sequence.

Both magnetos remained securely attached to the engine, but the left magneto bore impact damage. Magneto to engine timing was found to be 20 degrees for the right magneto, and 27 degrees for the left magneto. The Lycoming-specified timing is 20 degrees.

Both magnetos tested satisfactorily to rpm levels above the specified maximum rpm value of 2,700 for that engine/airframe combination. One harness lead exhibited an electrical short; any short would have manifested itself as engine roughness during the pilot's magneto check, but he did not report any such roughness. The cause/source of the short was not determined.

Aside from Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2015-19-07 (see below), the airplane, engine, magnetos, and fuel servo appeared to be in compliance with all applicable ADs.

The condition of the airframe and engine were not consistent with an airplane that had been subjected to a thorough annual inspection, and the requisite maintenance for a return to service. Items that were found to be non-conforming to the complete performance of an Annual or 100 Hour inspection and return to service included:

- Age hardened, deteriorated fuel injector line support clamp cushions, not in compliance with AD 2015-19-07 per Lycoming Service Bulletin 342G
- Uncleaned fuel injector nozzles (evidenced by sooty, partially-obstructed air bleed screens)
- Re-used, un-annealed M-674 spark plug gaskets
- Spark plug 2T found installed finger-tight
- Severely deteriorated internal muffler baffling
- All (except propeller governor) non-metallic flexible fuel and oil pressure hoses were over 40 years old
- Fuel cap external and internal seals age-deteriorated and cracked
- Fuel strainer gaskets age-deteriorated and cracked

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Mechanic and Maintenance Record Information

According to the pilot and the owner, a few weeks prior to the accident, the owner had contracted with a mechanic at E45 to conduct an annual inspection on the airplane, and to perform the maintenance necessary to render the airplane airworthy for its return to service. They also reported that subsequent to the maintenance, and prior to the accident flight, the mechanic made airframe and engine logbook entries that indicated that the airplane had been inspected in accordance with an annual inspection, was in airworthy condition, and that the mechanic's signature block denoted that he was an IA. Subsequent to the accident, the mechanic refused to provide the logbooks to the owner. The mechanic claimed that the owner owed him $6,000 for the maintenance that he had performed, and that he was retaining the logbooks for security until he was paid.

FAA and NTSB attempts to convince the mechanic to release the logbooks to the FAA or NTSB were unsuccessful; again the mechanic stated that he was holding the logbooks as security until he was paid by the owner. The mechanic eventually allowed an FAA inspector to examine and photograph the two most recent entries in each logbook. The FAA inspector, and his photographs, indicated that portions of the original airframe and engine logbook entries by the mechanic had been altered with "whiteout" and overwritten. The revised airframe and engine entry text indicated that the airplane had been inspected in accordance with a "ferry inspection," and the revised mechanic's signature block indicated that he was an "A&P."

"Ferry inspection" is not a term that is defined, referenced, or otherwise recognized by the FAA.

FAA and NTSB conversations with other aircraft owners at E45 revealed that subsequent to March 31, 2015, the mechanic had continued to represent himself as a valid IA holder, and that he had conducted and signed off numerous aircraft as an IA.

Airplane Performance

Takeoff performance distance data (ground roll, and total over 50 ft obstacle) for the airplane were presented in table form in the POH. The performance table values were predicated on the following fixed conditions:
- Gross weight: 2,750 lbs
- Engine/propeller rpm: 2,700
- Engine leaned "to field elevation"
- Flaps: 15º
- Landing gear retracted after lift-off
- Runway: paved, level, dry surface
- Takeoff speeds: lift off, 71mph; 50 ft height, 75 mph

The table provided for variations in the following parameters:
- Headwind (no tailwind accountability)
- Pressure altitude
- Ambient temperature

Because the POH performance data did not account for runway slope, tailwind, or 0º flaps, the manufacturer provided calculated performance estimates that accounted for variations in those parameters for two example cases. The first case used the prescribed takeoff flap setting of 15º, and the second used the actual takeoff setting of 0º. Both cases use the calculated pressure altitude, a 1.1% runway upslope, a 5 knot tailwind, and all other fixed parameter values specified above.

The 15º flap case resulted in an estimated ground roll distance of about 1,900 ft, and an estimated distance to 50 ft agl of about 3,250 ft. The 0º flap case resulted in an estimated ground roll distance of about 2,300 ft, and an estimated distance to 50 ft agl of about 3,700 ft. It should be noted that these results do not represent certificated performance, and should not be construed as such.

The pilot estimated that the airplane actually weighed about 2,460 lbs for the takeoff. Although the POH performance table included a "NOTE" that provided a means to account for weights below 2,750 lbs, there was insufficient data to substantiate application of that correction factor to these two performance cases.

Other factors that can adversely affect takeoff performance, but whose specific values and effects could not be determined for this accident, included:
- Pilot techniques (engine leaning, airspeed, attitude) for the takeoff
- Airspeed indication system accuracy
- Engine, propeller, and airframe deterioration due to age, use, and care
- Engine rpm (tachometer, governor)
- Propeller blade pitch
- Ambient conditions (wind, temperature)

Airport Surveillance Video

There was a fixed-view surveillance camera mounted on a building on the north side of the runway at E45. The image and audio data from the camera was recorded, and the accident takeoff was captured. The data recording of the takeoff was provided to the investigation for review.

The camera view was oriented perpendicular to the runway, looking south. The camera was situated approximately 2,500 feet along the runway from the west (9) threshold. Its field of view encompassed the runway segment approximately 155 feet to either side, for a total field of view of about 310 feet of the runway. The airplane traversed the image from right to left. The airplane was already fully in the frame at the beginning of the image file. When it first appeared, it was airborne, with its landing gear extended, and the landing gear appeared to be about 2 feet above the runway. When it exited the frame, the gear altitude appears to have increased to about 6 feet. When the airplane was in mid-frame, perpendicular to the camera, the airplane attitude was measured to be approximately 11º nose up. The flaps appeared to be retracted, but the image resolution was insufficient to positively ascertain the flap position.

Analysis by NTSB Recorders Laboratory personnel indicated that the airplane operated at an average ground speed of about 68 kts during the nearly 2 second period that the airplane was visible in the image. During the first 40% of that time, the estimated average speed was about 66 kts, and during the last 60% it was about 70 kts.

A frequency analysis of the audio recording of the engine/propeller was conducted by NTSB Recorders Laboratory personnel. The analysis indicated that the engine speed was 2,640 rpm.

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA105
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 10, 2016 in Groveland, CA
Aircraft: BEECH B24R, registration: N2052L
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

On May 10, 2016, about 1215 Pacific daylight time, a Beech B24R Sierra, N2052L, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during an attempted departure from Pine Mountain Lake airport (E45), Groveland, California. The pilot and the passenger/owner received minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

The passenger, who was a student pilot, recently purchased the airplane in an estate sale. Both the pilot and owner lived in Mississippi, and had traveled to E45 to retrieve the airplane, and fly it back to Mississippi. The airplane was domiciled at E45, and reportedly had not been maintained, operated, or flown in at least 5 years, and possibly 10 or more. The airplane's most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) registration expired in 2011. Subsequent to the purchase, the owner contracted with a mechanic at E45 to conduct maintenance on it, in preparation for the flight to Mississippi.

The day prior to the accident, both fuel tanks were filled, and the pilot and owner took the airplane for its first flight after its dormancy. The airplane departed on runway 27, and flew one circuit in the pattern, as planned. That flight was uneventful. The next day, they planned to again fly the airplane, this time departing the area for some systems evaluations before returning to E45. This takeoff attempt, which terminated in the accident, was conducted on runway 9. The pilot reported that the first part of the takeoff roll and liftoff "appeared normal but during or at gear retraction the aircraft started losing power." He stated with about 1,000 feet of runway remaining, the engine "was not producing enough power to climb or accelerate," and that it was apparent the airplane not going to clear the trees beyond the runway end. The pilot focused on attempting to climb, while simultaneously avoiding a stall. 

The airplane struck trees and a utility pole, and then thick underbrush and the ground. The airplane came to rest about 1,800 feet beyond the end of the runway, at a point slightly north of the extended runway centerline. The fracture-separated outboard right wing was located adjacent to the utility pole, and the engine had separated from the fuselage. The fuselage was slightly crumpled and otherwise deformed, but the cabin retained its normal occupiable volume. There was no fire.

The pilot reported that for both flights, he was seated in the left seat, and was the sole manipulator of the controls. He held an airline transport pilot certificate, and reported about 22,800 total hours of flight experience, including about 4,310 hours in single engine airplanes. Prior to his flight in the airplane the day before the accident, the pilot had no experience in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent flight review was completed in May 2015, and his most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in January 2015.

FAA information indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1976, and was equipped with a Lycoming IO-360 series engine.

E45 was equipped with a single paved runway, designated 9/27, which measured 3,624 by 50 feet. The airport elevation was listed in the FAA database as 2,932 feet. Runway 9 threshold elevation was 2,895 ft, and runway 27 threshold elevation was 2,932 ft.


Update at 2:10 p.m.: Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Officials have identified the pilot and passenger involved in a plane crash at the Pine Mountain Lake Airport. The pilot is 83-year-old Samuel Gore from Mississippi and his passenger, 62-year-old Robert Bloom is from Florida. According to Sgt. Andrea Benson the Beech B24R Sierra was just bought today.

Update at 1:55 p.m.: The plane is a Beech B24R Sierra. Sgt. Andreas Benson reports there is no leakage from the aircraft or fire reported at the scene. The FAA and NTSB will be investigating the accident. 

Original post at 1:45 p.m.:  Groveland, CA — A small plane crashed at the Pine Mountain Lake Airport just after takeoff.

Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies and the Watch Commander are headed to the scene. Sheriff’s officials report a resident in the area alerted them to the plane that went down around 12:15 p.m. The caller stated she saw a plane take off, and moments later it went down just past the runway into some trees near some power lines.  The woman added that she and another person went to the crash site and found the pilot and a passenger walking around the outside of the plane.  Both refused medical attention but one complained of a scratch to his hand, according to Sgt. Andrea Benson.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have been notified of the crash. Sgt. Benson adds that the plane was registered out of Groveland but it expired in 2011.

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




Update: 2:58 P.M.

The pilot is Samuel Gore, 83,  from Mississippi and bought the plane today.

The passenger is Robert Bloom, 62,  from Florida. 

May 10, 2016 - A plane crash was reported to the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office this afternoon at around 12:12 P.M., at the Pine Mountain Lake Airport.

A bystander saw a plane take off and crash down past the runway into the tree and power line area. Two citizens went to the area and found the crash site as Fire and Ambulance responded.

The pilot and passenger were out of the plane and walking. One person complained of a finger injury but both refused medical care. There were no other injuries reported at that time. There is no fire or fuel leakage at the site. 

The plane is a Beech B24R Sierra that was last registered in 2011 out of Groveland.

The crash was reported to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board who will be investigating the accident. The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Deputies are currently responding to the accident. 

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