Thursday, May 19, 2016

Roberts Field - Redmond Municipal Airport (KRDM) runway project on track, airport reopens Monday; in fact, private planes return on Friday



The Redmond Municipal Airport announced late Thursday the three-week runway intersection construction project will be completed on time and commercial service will resume Monday as scheduled. Despite rain delays, it's gone so well, private aircraft will return Friday.

Runway 5-23 re-construction work, where both runways intersect, is why the airfield was originally scheduled to close for three weeks, May 2-22.

But RDM’s secondary Runway 11-29 is scheduled to open for general aviation aircraft (private planes) on Friday at 4 pm, which officials said is earlier than planned.

Commercial passenger aircraft,,including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta and United, will return their scheduled passenger service to RDM on Monday as planned.

Although the contractor, Knife River, faced a rain delay equivalent to more than three days, stopping the paving work, officials said they managed to complete the intersection reconstruction portion of the project early,, allowing the airport to reopen Runway 11-29 to aircraft. 

In fact, commercial service could have resumed earlier. But officials said airlines aren't able to to adjust their schedules quickly enough to bring their aircraft back to RDM before Monday, the scheduled resumption.

Runway 5-23 will remain closed as scheduled for the remaining reconstruction work to be completed.  That work is scheduled for completion at the end of August, officials said.

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

Cessna 172P Skyhawk II, Freeway Airport Inc., N89464: Incident occurred May 19, 2016 at Freeway Airport (W00), Mitchellville, Prince George's County, Maryland

FREEWAY AIRPORT INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N89464

Date: 19-MAY-16
Time: 18:26:00Z
Regis#: N89464
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: MITCHELLVILLE
State: Maryland

AIRCRAFT LANDED LONG AND HIT A FENCE. MITCHELLVILLE, MARYLAND




A small plane crashed near the Freeway Airport in Mitchellville, Maryland Thursday -- narrowly missing busy Route 50.

No one was injured, Maryland State Police said.

The Cessna 172P Skyhawk II crashed into a fence close to eastbound Route 50, slowing traffic on the highway.

The plane was being flown by a student pilot, state police said.

Prince George's County Fire also responded to the scene. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transpiration Safety Board were contacted and will be conducting a follow-up investigation.

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



BOWIE, Md. (WJZ)– No one was injured after a plane crashes near Freeway Airport on Thursday afternoon.

Authorities say the plane crashed into a small fence that borders US-50.

The crash apparently happened during landing training when the pilot overshot the runway.

The plane was identified as a Cessna 172P Skyhawk II, according to Mark Brady, a spokesperson for EMS and fire services in Prince Georges County.

Story and video:  http://baltimore.cbslocal.com



BOWIE, Md. (ABC7) — A small plane hit a fence bordering Rt. 50 while attempting a landing at Freeway Airport in Bowie, fire and police officials say.

A Cessna 172 with a student pilot in control overshot the runway at about 2:45 p.m., according to a Maryland State Police spokesperson. The only passenger in the four-seater was the instructor.

No injuries have been reported, says Mark Brady, Prince George's County Fire PIO.

Although there were no lane closures, traffic delays extended about three miles on Eastbound Rt. 50, police say .

The registered owner of the plane is Freeway Airport, Inc. in Mitchellville, Md., according to public records.

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



A  Cessna 172P Skyhawk II plane overshot the runway while landing at Freeway Airport and skidded into the fence at the edge of the property, just a few feet from the shoulder of westbound Route 50 near Bowie.

The accident happened about 2:45 on Thursday afternoon.

There were no injuries reported, according to Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George's County fire department.

Apparently, the plane was being operated at the time by a trainee, who was in the process of building up enough hours to qualify for a pilot's license.

Maryland State Police were handling the investigation, Brady said.

The accident happened off to the right side of the highway and did not necessitate any lane closures. However, drivers passing by slowed to have a look at the plane, which crashed nose-first into the fence, causing extended backups on westbound Route 50. At one point, the backup was three miles long, according to police.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting a follow up investigation, state police said.

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







MITCHELLVILLE, Md. (AP) — Maryland State Police say a small plane landing at a Prince George's County airport crashed into a fence. No one was hurt.

Troopers said in a news release that about 2:45 p.m. Thursday, a student pilot and a trainer were in a Cessna 172P Skyhawk II in Mitchellville.

Police say the student pilot was landing the plane went it went off the end of the runway and crashed into a fence that separates the airport from US Route 50.

Troopers say the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transpiration Safety Board have been notified.

Original article can be found here: http://www.fox5dc.com

Appeals court rules Sheffield, Massachusetts, man can keep private airfield: No local bylaw to prohibit man's runway

SHEFFIELD >> Following several years of litigation, the state Appeals Court ruled last week that a Sheffield man cannot be prohibited by the town from flying in and out of his private airfield, unless the town is specifically protected by a bylaw that addresses the activity.

In 2006, according to court documents, John R. Hanlon Jr. constructed an 80-foot-wide airstrip that was 1,250 feet long on his property. The 38-acre parcel also contained a number of outbuildings that were suitable for storing aircraft. The land is located on a private road off Hulett Hill Road near the Sheffield-New Marlborough border.

Attorney Alexandra Glover, representing Hanlon, said her client was pleased with the decision.

The Appeals Court ruled that while the Town of Sheffield prohibits, by zoning, commercial aviation enterprises in most of the town, it cannot prohibit private aviation unless a specific, applicable bylaw is approved by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division.

The Appeals Court, in its ruling, differentiated between those two actions.

Sheffield's zoning bylaws did not have that permission said Glover in an email.

She said she believes the ruling is a key one because many towns in the Berkshires and beyond are not cognizant of the provision that aviation-related bylaws are subject to the DOT's approval.

"I don't think you'll find a lot of towns in the Berkshires who are aware of this," she wrote in an email.

Hanlon flew aircraft in and out of the airstrip for several years. The strip, according to court documents, was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration.

In 2011, the town's building inspector issued Hanlon a cease-and-desist order, ruling that the town's zoning bylaws did not allow private airstrips.

The town's bylaws did allow commercial airstrips under certain specific conditions, but omitted any mention of private airstrips. Like the bylaws of many towns in the Berkshires and in Massachusetts, the town operates on the principle that if an activity is not mentioned, it is not allowed.

Hanlon appealed the decision to the Sheffield Zoning Board of Appeals. After four hearings on the matter in January and February of 2012, the ZBA upheld the building inspector's ruling.

Hanlon appealed the decision to the state Land Court in 2012.

The ruling came down on Friday, May 13.

The court ruled that towns that do not obtain DOT approval for these regulations cannot prohibit private airfields and air operations, even if there are no specific regulations in a town's bylaw handbook addressing private airfields.

Town administrator Rhonda LaBombard said that she hasn't read the entire decision, and has yet to present it to the selectmen and thus declined to comment.

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

Hangar leases a hang-up for Cottonwood Council

COTTONWOOD -- The Cottonwood Council Chamber was packed Tuesday night with pilots, hangar owners and others associated with the Cottonwood airport. 

The issue that gathered them centers on Cottonwood's long-term lease rates for the city land on which the hangars sit. This matter has been simmering since 2008. At the end of a two-hour discussion, the council called for a special committee of stakeholders and decision makers to settle the matter.

The agenda item has been repeatedly pushed by hangar owner Lawrence Minch, who felt that he among others were wronged because of two standards used by the city to lease hangar space.

Almost every hangar at the airport is privately-owned on land leased to owners by the city. Most have 25-year leases on their land, but expect to use their hangar for much longer.

The issue centers on a lot of money and that fact that the leases provide that the hangars become the property of the city at the end of the lease. But some owners negotiated a 25-year lease and the opportunity to negotiate based on a new valuation. Others got a 25-year lease with the option for a 15-year extension. The difference apparently is the way the leases are worded and whether owners can expect a 25-year lease, or essentially, a 40-year lease.

A couple of owners who signed only the original lease without the extension option, said if the terms were not the same as the Larry Green lease, they would move their hangar off the ground after 25 years and leave only the bare ground. 

Councilman Tim Elinski, said "25 years is too short a term. It is important to have a written policy. It's our job to provide certainty. We want a level rate across the board with a trend over a five- to 10-year period."

A big stumbling block is the fact that the airport has no written policy, and in fact, Airport Manager Morgan Scott could find no written policy when surveying 11 Arizona airports he researched.

Mayor Diane Joens insisted that, "We are always supportive of pilots and what they bring to the community in terms of economic development. But the airport belongs to its citizens." 

"We need to have transparency and equity. I am an advocate for changing the leases," said Councilman Randy Garrison.

"This is a critical issue," said Councilman Terence Pratt, "We are not utilizing the airport as an economic center."

Alan Paxhia, president of the Cottonwood Hangar Association, told the council his hanger is worth $270,000 and that "40 years allows for amortization of the building, but the city wants to rent the hangar back to us after 25 years."

"You have no right to our building until after 40 years," Paxhia insisted. "The owners are being stonewalled and you are not going to negotiate until the lease expires."

Janet Thompson is another hangar owner. Since her husband died, she wants to sell her hangar. She says that it is now "worth $220,000, but if had a 15-year extension, it would be worth $305,000."

Much of the debate revolves around specifics of the law including "gifting public property", "constrained by the Arizona constitution," "fee-title must remain in hands of city, because of millions in grant funding to maintain the airport," "adequate consideration," "duty on part of city to negotiate."

Hangar owners simply want a fair deal and many on the Cottonwood council agreed with them.

Lawrence Minch, hangar owner who has pushed the issue, said he believes the FAA will have the upper hand, "I would be more worried about losing your airport than changing a line in my lease."

Former Cottonwood Airport Chairman John Altizer asked the council, "How much is it going to cost you. You are not going to get a millions of dollars' worth of hangars without a fight."

Attorney Steve Horton admitted, "I have become a bit of an issue." He suggested the city find an alternative attorney to assist with the negotiation. 

In the end, the council approved forming a committee to work on a land and hangar lease policy (for the Cottonwood Airport) composed of an airport consultant, an attorney, an airport commissioner, council member, citizen, an airport manager, representative from the FAA, and a hangar owner.

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

Should discount carrier Norwegian Air fly to the U.S.? Here’s what passengers think.



The Washington Post 
By Christopher Elliott 

Affordable. Comfortable. On time.

Those are just some of the words Norwegian Air passengers are using to describe the discount airline, which is patiently waiting for a foreign air carrier permit from the U.S. government for its Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International (NAI). Many customers rave about its low fares, new planes and friendly service.

But that’s not how some U.S. airlines describe Norwegian Air. Critics, including labor unions and competitors, say the airline flouts labor laws, threatens American jobs and should be banned from flying in the United States.

Now, after two years in a holding pattern and extensive vetting by regulators, the Department of Transportation is on the verge of granting Norwegian Air the permission it requested. Last month, the DOT issued a “show cause” order for its Irish subsidiary, soliciting public comments. Observers believe the airline is about to get the all-clear from authorities, which will allow Norwegian Air to expand worldwide.

How will that affect you? It depends on who you are. Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, a coalition of 32 member unions representing transportation workers, predicts that NAI’s approval “will destroy fair competition and extinguish middle-class airline jobs here and in Europe.” In other words, if you or a loved one works in the transportation business, you might feel this a little.

Some members of Congress agree. Reps. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R-N.J.), Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and Lynn A. Westmoreland (R-Ga.) quickly introduced a bill that they say would prevent the DOT from permitting a foreign air carrier to operate between European countries and the United States unless the carrier complies with basic, fair U.S. or European Union labor standards — a law that would effectively throttle Norwegian Air’s expansion.

The bill is unlikely to pass.

“Our opponents have created a wildly inaccurate fear-mongering situation,” says RĂ©al Hamilton-Romeo, a Norwegian Air spokeswoman. Green-lighting Norwegian Air, she says, would help create more American cabin-crew jobs working for Norwegian Air; help sustain and support more than 90,000 American jobs through an $18.5 billion order with Boeing; bring more tourists to the United States; and add direct air service to Europe for American air travelers.

“Protests against Norwegian Air are nothing but special interests in the U.S. airline industry worried about international competition,” agrees Jonathan Galaviz, an airline analyst with Global Market Advisors, a travel industry consulting firm. What’s more, he notes, denying Norwegian Air’s request would affect the U.S. tourism industry in other ways, hurting “thousands of American hotel workers and taxi drivers that rely on new inbound airline traffic from abroad.”

Northeastern University economist Harlan Platt says the debate reminds him of taxis fighting the inevitable spread of Uber. But the new, better way of running an airline — Norwegian Air is finding ways to reduce costs by breaking the old model of basing an airline in one country, employing people there and hiring its crew there — will ultimately win, to the benefit of passengers.

“Denying Norwegian Air’s application is tantamount to saying that American consumers should subsidize United Airlines and its unions,” he says. “While it is true that many of these airlines went through bankruptcy a decade ago, since then, they have consolidated the industry and destroyed competition. They are now all highly profitable and greedier than Midas.”

Maybe the real question is: What do you give up when you fly on Norwegian Air? Not much, passengers say.

Norwegian Air follows the “a la carte” pricing model popularized by the airline industry about a decade ago, selling you a seat but asking you to pay for anything extra. That includes imposing fees for checked luggage, drinks, in-flight meals, phone reservations, seat assignments, snacks and ticket changes.

Even so, Annalisa Fernandez, an author based in Riverside, Conn., says Norwegian Air is surprisingly affordable. “We flew Norwegian Air to Spain last summer to take the kids to summer camp and plan to do it again this year,” she says. Airfare for a family of five set the family back $4,000, $2,000 less than she would have paid on a conventional airline. Fernandez did her research before choosing the flight. “I trust the Norwegians to not cut corners on safety,” she adds.

Transatlantic airfares rise significantly during the summer, a time of peak demand. With only a handful of airlines competing on many popular routes, thanks to government-approved airline alliances that are granted antitrust immunity, you don’t often hear passengers talking about affordable tickets.

Here’s another word you rarely hear used to describe a flight: comfortable.

Lloyd Wheeler, who runs a production company in Tallahassee, flew from Orlando to Copenhagen last month on Norwegian Air and described it as a “decent” experience. “Norwegian’s layout in economy is more comfortable than I have experienced in many other airlines,” he says. That’s a sharp contrast to the U.S.-based carriers, who offer humane legroom and space only to their elites, to those willing to pay sky-high fares to sit in business class or to those who slavishly collect frequent-flier miles. Adds Wheeler, “We look forward to flying on Norwegian Air again and hope to use their service in other markets.”

Jonathan Weber, who owns a Web design firm in Stroudsburg, Pa., paid $256 to fly on Norwegian Air from New York to Oslo. He was impressed by the new aircraft and positive work ethic.

“They depart and arrive on time, and they have a professional and courteous crew,” he says, adding: “I’d fly them for a domestic route over the normal American alternatives any day.”

Actually, Norwegian Air isn’t applying to fly domestic routes — under an antiquated U.S. law, foreign carriers are not allowed to do that — but Weber’s comments underscore the level of unhappiness American air travelers feel with their own carriers. There’s a strong sense among passengers that the government shouldn’t prop up a system that doesn’t serve them well.

Time and again, the experts and air travelers I spoke with for this article mentioned the broken system: Airlines no longer compete, their fares are too high and their service levels are too low. And time and again, they expressed the hope that an airline like Norwegian Air can change the system by offering a better way to fly and disrupting an inefficient model.

Then again, what if the critics are right? What if Norwegian Air’s promises to offer low fares, better service and create American jobs turn out to be empty? What if Norwegian Air’s expansion decimates a vital American industry, taking with it the livelihood of thousands of taxpayers?

We’re about to find out.

Original article can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com

An act of survival: Bell Helicopter relocating its 505 Jet Ranger X assembly to Canada

Less than a year after opening its 82,300-square-foot manufacturing facility, Bell Helicopter is changing which products it will build in Lafayette.

In a conference call Thursday afternoon, the company president and CEO Mitch Snyder said Bell is relocating several programs across the United States as it deals with a downturn in the commercial market.

"The 505 Jet Ranger X manufacturing facility in Lafayette, Louisiana, will relocate to our Maribel manufacturing and distribution facility in Canada, "Snyder said. "We remain committed to our Lafayette employees in the state of Louisiana. Therefore the Lafayette facility will receive the Bell 525 Relentless cabin sub-assembly, relocating from Amarillo."

The company will also relocate its Grumman MQ-8C aerial vehicle-manufacturing facility from Ozark, Alabama, into the Lafayette Assembly Center, he said.

The state funded the $26.3 million construction of assembly center, which opened in August. The building is owned by the Lafayette Regional Airport. Bell has been leasing the facility and committed to making an additional $11.5 million capital investment in equipment and tooling.

On Thursday, Snyder said the company is negotiating with officials to ensure that Bell Helicopter is keeping its end of the bargain with state and local governments.

“We are sitting down with the economic group right now and going through that," he said.

When the assembly center opened in August, former Gov. Bobby Jindal, who was on the presidential campaign trail at the time, praised Bell's move to Lafayette in 2015 as "a new era in Louisiana’s rich history in aerospace."

But there were signs of trouble months before the local assembly center's opening. In April, 2015, the company announced plans to lay off more than 1,000 employees. Shortly after the announcement, Bell Helicopter spokeswoman Ashleigh Dana Told The Daily Advertiser that the company was invested in the Lafayette assembly center with more than 300 orders for the 505 Jet Ranger X models.

The 505 Jet Ranger X final assembly facility also promised to deliver 115 new local jobs.

Snyder said there are 27 employees at the facility who now will be part of the transition process to move the 505 Jet Ranger X assembly to Canada and move the Texas and Alabama operations to Lafayette.

After the transition, the company will assess its staffing in Lafayette, Snyder said.

"We don't know yet at this point. We are still looking at the numbers," he said.

Snyder said Thursday that the 505 Jet Ranger X manufacturing operation will not be returning to Lafayette.

The commercial aviation industry has taken massive economic blows for three consecutive years, Snyder said. The decision to shift the company's facilities is an act of survival.

“It’s worldwide; it’s industry-wide," he said. "We’ve said it numerous times  from 2013 to 2015 it was down by about 50 percent. From 2015 to now, it’s worse."

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



Bell Helicopter said Thursday it would assemble its 505 Jet Ranger X in Mirabel, Canada, and abandon plans to build the new-model aircraft at a $26.3 million Lafayette facility that Louisiana financed to lure the company and 115 jobs.

Instead, an undetermined number of employees at the Lafayette plant will handle some of the cabin assembly for Bell’s 505 Relentless helicopter, work that is being transferred from a plant in Amarillo, Texas, Bell CEO and President Mitch Snyder said in a conference call Thursday.

Snyder said the Lafayette plant also will handle modifications to the Northrop Gruman MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle, a Bell project that is being moved from the company’s facility in Ozark, Alabama.

Snyder said the company’s decision to change directions was driven by a severe downturn worldwide in the demand for commercial aircraft.

The company has 27 employees in Lafayette, most of them hired since the facility was completed in August. Those workers will help transition the projects. Snyder said the ultimate number of workers hired in Lafayette will depend on the company’s labor needs, which will be determined later.

Snyder would not estimate how many workers will be hired or if it would approach the 115 figure Bell and Louisiana officials cited a few years ago. “We don’t know a number at this point,” he said and added that Bell is “dedicated to making a strong presence in the ares.”

Former Gov. Bobby Jindal led an entourage of state, local and Bell officials in announcing that Bell would locate the Jet Ranger 505 X assembly plant on 14.5 acres at Lafayette Regional Airport. State money paid for the $26.3 million hangar, then the state handed ownership of the hangar to the Lafayette Airport Commission, which leases the 83,000-square-foot building to Bell.

The state also offered incentives, such as performance-based grants of $4 million for lease support, $200,000 for relocation expenses and $3.8 million for infrastructure improvements.

In return, Bell said it would invest $11.4 million in equipment and tools and would hire 115 employees.

Louisiana officials Thursday sought out the positive parts of Bell’s decision.

“We are very pleased the work for the Bell 525 and the MQ-8C Fire Scout is moving to the Lafayette facility,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement released by Bell. “Bell Helicopter has played a significant role in boosting the Lafayette economy and they have proven themselves to be valuable partners in Louisiana.”

Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, who was out of state Thursday, was quoted in the same Bell news release as saying that, “We are fully invested in the partnership we’ve created and look for great things for our community, the company and Bell Helicopter employees.”

Gregg Gothreaux, head of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, said Thursday the news could be worse.

“What we care about is the jobs,” he said. “We knew of Bell’s struggles for sales this year. We knew that times were tenuous. We were very excited when we found out they (Bell) were going to protect the Lafayette location.”

Bell continues to conduct tests and certify its 505 Jet Ranger X.

The news about Bell changing its plans comes after the company officials, including Lafayette manager Paul Watts, said in late March that the plant’s assembly operations and hiring remained on schedule. They said then that full production of 200 Jet Ranger 505s a year would commence in 2017.

The news that was released Thursday was welcomed in Canada, where final assembly of the chopper will now be done in Mirabel, near Montreal in Quebec.

“Today’s announcement is a good news story of jobs and future growth in the Canadian aerospace sector and of an innovative R&D legacy that will last far beyond the manufacture of this helicopter,” Navdeep Bains, Canada minister of innovation, science and economic development, said in the Bell statement.

Bell Helicopter is a subsidiary of Textron.

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

Cessna 210F Centurion, N6450N: Fatal accident occurred May 17, 2016 in Wantage Township, Sussex County, New Jersey

Kathryn's Report: http://www.kathrynsreport.com

Lu Chen: http://registry.faa.gov/N6450N

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA189
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, May 16, 2016 in Wantage, NJ
Aircraft: CESSNA 210, registration: N6450N
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On May 16, 2016, about 2242 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 210F, N6450N, was substantially damaged when it impacted wooded terrain under unknown circumstances near Wantage, New Jersey. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual as a personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Griffiss International Airport (RME), Rome, New York, at 2143. The flight's destination was unknown.

There were no known witnesses to the accident and the airplane was not reported overdue. Air traffic control (ATC) began receiving reports of an emergency locator transmitter near the accident site at 2252. The wreckage was subsequently located by the Civil Airport Patrol on May 19, 2016. The pilot had no contact with flight service or ATC for the accident flight; however, review of radar data revealed targets with a transponder code of 1200. The targets originated at RME and terminated near the accident side. The last recorded target was at 2241:56, indicating an altitude of 900 feet mean sea level (msl). According to the manager of a fixed based operator at RME, the pilot purchased 25 gallons of fuel during the day of the accident flight and indicated that he would be away for 1 week, but did not specify his destination.

A debris path was observed; beginning with severed tree branches and a section of left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator, and extended approximately 200 feet on a magnetic course of 240 degrees to the main wreckage, which was at an elevation of 670 feet msl. The main wreckage was inverted, oriented about a magnetic heading of 300 degrees, with both wings partially separated at their respective wing root. Both wings exhibited buckling and leading edge impact damage. No fuel was recovered from the left or right fuel tanks; however, both fuel tanks were breached during impact. The flaps and ailerons remained attached to their respective wing, with the flaps observed in the retracted position. The empennage was intact and exhibited buckling. The vertical stabilizer and rudder also remained intact. The right horizontal stabilizer remained attached and a portion of the right elevator had separated and was recovered beneath the main wreckage.

Control continuity was confirmed from the elevator and rudder to the cockpit. Continuity was also confirmed from the right aileron to the cockpit. The left aileron control cable had separated at the doorpost and exhibited a broomstraw separation. The left aileron balance cable remained intact. Measurement of the elevator trim jackscrew corresponded to an approximate 5-degree tab up (nose down) trim position. The cockpit remained intact and the pilot's lapbelt had been unfastened by rescue personnel. The landing gear was in the retracted position. The magneto switch was in the left position and the fuel selector was positioned to the left fuel tank. The throttle control was midrange and the mixture control was in the idle/cutoff position. The landing light was in the on position.

The three-blade propeller remained attached to the engine. Two blades were bent aft and one blade remained straight. About 1/4 ounce of fuel was recovered in the fuel line from the engine driven fuel pump to the fuel metering unit. The fuel was bright, clear, and consistent in color and odor to 100 low-lead aviation gasoline. No other measurable fuel was recovered from the engine or fuel system. The top spark plugs were removed from the engine for examination. Their electrodes were intact and light gray in color. The valve covers were removed from the cylinders and oil was observed throughout the engine. When the propeller was rotated by hand, crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed to the rear accessory section of the engine. Thumb compression was attained on all cylinders and the magnetos produced spark to all top leads.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration third-class medical certificate was issued on October 26, 2013. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 300 hours.

The six-seat, high-wing, retractable tricycle-gear airplane, serial number 21058801, was manufactured in 1966. It was powered by a Continental Motors IO-520, 285-horsepower engine, equipped with a McCauley constant-speed three-blade propeller.

Sussex Airport (FWN), Sussex, New Jersey, was located about 6 miles south of the accident site. The recorded weather at FWN, at 2253, included wind calm, visibility 10 miles and clear sky.

A GPS was recovered from the wreckage and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory, Washington, DC, for data download.

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

WANTAGE — Authorities have identified the pilot killed in a single-engine plane crash last week as a 59-year-old man with an Elmira, N.Y. mailing address, but they've not yet released his name pending family notification.

Elmira, N.Y. police Chief Joseph Kane told NJ Advance Media his department checked the residence on file for the man last week, but the address was vacant and they've not yet been able to make contact with his family.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Arlene Salac said the agency does not confirm victims' identities and refers the public release of victims' identities to local agencies.

The pilot's body was found — and his Cessna C210 located — on Thursday in a wooded area near Unionville and Mount Salem roads in Wantage shortly before 11 a.m., New York Civil Air Patrol Incident Commander Maj. Bill Martin said in a news release. The plane was found inverted, with the wings torn off.

"The pilot appeared to be the lone occupant and was deceased," Martin said. "All appearances are that the aircraft was trying to land in the field and hit the tree line."

The Civil Air Patrol had been searching for this plane since Tuesday after being alerted by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Ground search teams were able to track the emergency locator transmitter signal to the Wantage field by Thursday morning.


NJ Advance Media is not releasing the pilot's name pending family notification.



WANTAGE — A search team from New York located a downed Cessna 210 aircraft, found today, whose lone occupant was found dead inside.

Civilian air patrols had been searching since Tuesday for the source of an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal.

The plane was found inverted at 10:42 a.m., with the wings torn off, said Maj. Bill Martin, CAP incident commander. The wreckage was in the woods, about a third of a mile from Route 651.

“All appearances are that the aircraft was trying to land in the field and hit the tree line,” Martin said.

The identity of the pilot has not been released.

No missing or overdue aircraft had been reported, Martin said.

The only clue was the ELT.

Search aircraft from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., reported the signal in the vicinity of Sussex Airport. By Wednesday, aircraft and ground teams were focusing on Unionville Road in Wantage.

A ground search today located the crash site.

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



WANTAGE - The pilot of a Cessna 210 aircraft has died after the plane crashed in a wooded area in Sussex County.

The plane was found upside down in the woods Thursday. Its wings were torn off and the pilot was found dead inside.

Initial news reports said that the plane was reported missing earlier this week, but News 12 New Jersey has learned that this was not the case. Officials believe that the plane may have crashed on Tuesday.

According to the Civil Air Patrol, a South Eastern Group ground team out of Poughkeepsie started to track an emergency locator transmitter signal. They set out to search for the signal on Tuesday, but did not locate the crash site until Thursday.

Once the site was located, the team alerted the New Jersey State Police.

It appeared that the pilot was the only person aboard the plane when it crashed.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

Story and video:  http://newjersey.news12.com










WANTAGE — One person was dead following a plane crash in Sussex County this week, State Police said.

State Police responded to a report of a downed aircraft in a wooded area near Unionville and Mount Salem roads in Wantage Township at about 11 a.m. on Thursday, State Police spokesman Sgt. First Class Greg Williams said.

New York Civil Air Patrol discovered the single-engine aircraft Thursday morning, Williams said. The plane was first reported missing on Tuesday.

A single deceased occupant was found with the plane, he said. The pilot's name has not yet been released.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Arlene Salac said the plane was a Cessna 210F Centurion. The FAA will investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the cause of the crash, she said.

John Richnavsky, the owner of High Hopes Farm on nearby Quarry Road, told NJ Advance Media he heard two helicopters flying over the area Thursday morning. The Civil Air Patrol, he said, responded to the area Wednesday in search of an activated beacon.

Civil Air Patrol Incident Commander Maj. Bill Martin said in a news release the wreckage was found Thursday morning after the Southeast Group ground team out of Poughkeepsie tracked an Emergency Locator Transmitter signal to a field and then the bordering woods where the plane had crashed. The plane was found inverted, with the wings torn off, Martin said.

"The pilot appeared to be the lone occupant and was deceased," he said. "All appearances are that the aircraft was trying to land in the field and hit the tree line."

Civil Air Patrol air and ground teams had been searching for the source of the ELT beacon since Tuesday after being alerted by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, Martin said.

Search efforts were called off on Tuesday due to darkness and resumed the following day, but search teams were unable to spot the plane from the air. Ground teams continued to search the area using electronic direction-finding equipment late into the night before suspending the effort due to nightfall.

The plane was located by Civil Air Patrol ground search teams at about 10:42 a.m. on Thursday, Martin said.

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

Cleveland Municipal Airport (6R3) director shares soaring progress of construction projects

Cleveland Municipal Airport Manager Clay Dean gives an update on some of the projects completed recently, as well as future projects the airport hopes to consider.



Improvements and expansions of Cleveland Municipal Airport are moving along rapidly, with hangars filling up as fast as they are finished, according to Clay Dean, fixed base operator for the airport. Dean explained the progress of these projects at a monthly membership luncheon for the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce on May 12.

When making Dean’s introduction as guest speaker at the luncheon, Chamber Board President J. Rice said the airport has been called the “best kept secret” in the Cleveland area, but the success of the busy airport makes it appear that the secret is out.

Dean took over as manager in December 2013, along with his wife Darline Dean. The airport received a fuel system shortly afterward.

One of the airport’s main issues remains crowding, which the airport worked to address with a new hangar project.

“The hangars were full before we moved in,” said Dean.

Another project completed for the airport is a new ventilation system.

Dean presented a video, which displayed some of the new changes made to the airport, including a new pavement job, drainage work and restriping.

The airport also has some room to expand, thanks to the Cleveland EDC, which gave the airport 11 acres.

Dean admits the airport is still in need of more hangar space, with 55 people on a waiting list to store their planes.

“There’s just not enough funds to build these things,” said Dean.

The airport hopes to achieve more space with creative alternatives. Two individuals approached Dean about creating private hangars, which can help alleviate some of the space.

“They said, you know what? If it helps the city we would certainly entertain that,” said Dean.

Dean says the airport is very beneficial to the city, as those who use it also engage in the local economy.

“They eat at the restaurants,” said Dean. “They buy their gas here.”

The airport also employs six pilots to perform angel flights in a program called Pilots for Patients. Pilots in this program fly cancer patients to M. D. Anderson for their cancer treatments before flying them back.

“They [the patients] can be with their families before the chemo makes them sick,” said Dean.

One such pilot is Cassie Campbell, who is one of the youngest pilots for the program at 20 years of age.

Dean thanked everyone who came to hear him speak and encouraged everyone to do their best with the responsibilities they are entrusted with and to bring honor and glory to God.

The chamber luncheon also included the presentation of a certificate of recognition and appreciation to Dr. Jasmine Sulaiman for being named Country Doctor of the Year.

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

Beech D35 Bonanza, N2967B: Fatal accident occurred May 19, 2016 at Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport (KGKT), Sevierville, Sevier County, Tennessee

http://registry.faa.gov/N2967B

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA188
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 19, 2016 in Sevierville, TN
Aircraft: BEECH D35, registration: N2967B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On May 19, 2016, about 1139 eastern daylight time, a Beech D35; N2967B, was substantially damaged after a loss of control, during a balked landing, following a gear up touchdown, at Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport (GKT) Sevierville, Tennessee. The private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under the provisions of Title14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to witnesses, the airplane had taken off and had been flying around the area for approximately 30 minutes before the airplane came in to land on Runway 10 at GKT. During the landing, the airplane touched down with the landing gear in the up position, the propeller struck the ground, and the airplane skidded along the ground on its belly, and then the engine was heard to "rev up" and the airplane lifted off. It then appeared to be "very unstable in ground effect." The airplane then pitched up, rolled to the left, and impacted terrain.

Review of video recordings obtained from security cameras at GKT revealed that the airplane had taxied out for departure at approximately 1057. The airplane then took off from runway 10 about 1102. At approximately 1138, the airplane was observed to approach the runway and then touchdown with the landing gear up and the wing flaps down. The airplane then appeared to skip slightly, become airborne, and then climb slowly with visible oscillations in pitch and roll, until it was approximately 25 feet above the runway surface where it flew out of view of the camera.

Examination of Runway 10 revealed that the airplane's propeller had struck the runway pavement numerous times after it had touched down.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane had been substantially damaged during the impact sequence and had been subject to a post impact fire. The fuselage, wings, and empennage all exhibited areas of crush and compression damage and the majority of the airplane cabin section had burned away. The cockpit door had separated during the impact sequence but its latching mechanism was found to be in the closed and latched position. The right wingtip fuel tank had separated from the right wing, and the right wing was folded underneath itself. Three feet of the left outboard wing panel was separated from the left wing. The pitot tube was free of obstructions.

The left and right main fuel tank caps were found to be still closed and secured. The right main fuel tank was breached, and the left main fuel tank still contained fuel. The fuel selector valve was in the left main tank position. Fuel was present in the tank selector valve and the fuel strainer. Control continuity was established from the control wheel, and rudder pedals to the flight control surfaces. The throttle control, propeller control, and mixture control were all in the full forward (maximum) position.

Examination of the propeller revealed that the propeller displayed tip curling, S-bending, leading edge gouging, and chordwise scratching.

Examination of the engine revealed that there was fuel in the carburetor, there was oil in the galleries and rocker boxes. The sparkplugs electrodes were normal and gray in appearance and though fire damaged, the magnetos when examined internally did not display evidence of any preimpact failures or malfunctions. Thumb compression was established and drivetrain continuity was confirmed.

Examination of the landing gear system revealed that the emergency landing gear extension hand crank was stowed in the safety strap. The landing gear doors were closed. The push-pull rods from the gearbox to the "A" frame assemblies at each wheel were retracted.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and pilot records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on March 24, 2015. He reported on that date, that he had accrued approximately 206 total flight hours.

According to FAA and airplane maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1953. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on November 1, 2015. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued approximately 6029.8 total hours of operation.

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

Ray Allen Irwin

SEVIERVILLE — The plane crash that killed a 62-year-old pilot Thursday apparently resulted from a landing gear failure, authorities said Friday.

Ray Allen Irwin was the only person aboard the single-engine Beech Bonanza during the crash at Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport, 134, Air Museum Way, in Sevierville, according to the Sevierville Police Department.


Irwin was practicing his flying skills by engaging in "touch-and-go" landing maneuvers — taking off, landing and then taking off again, officials said at a Friday news conference.


On the last maneuver, the landing gear wasn't down, and the plane struck the runway, officials said.


According to Irwin's Facebook page, he studied nursing at the University of Toledo and University of Tennessee.


Irwin was certified as a medical X-ray technician in Tennessee and worked at University Physicians' Association and Parkway Medical Ce
nter, both in Sevierville. He retired and let his license expire in 2013. His mother and sister also live in Kodak.

On Thursday just before the crash, a witness heard a "loud pop" and then silence.

"I walked on out and there was black smoke billowing," said Billie Schnick, who lives just to the north of the runway.

As she watched the scene unfold, she began to feel sick.

"I got a little sicker, started calling some friends of mine, saying, 'Hey, we need some prayers quickly,' " Schnick said.

The single-engine Beech Bonanza plane crashed just before 11:45 a.m. at the edge of some woods 10-15 feet from the runway, airport manager Emily Haun said. S

Detective Kevin Bush of the Sevierville Police Department said the pilot was the only person aboard and was coming east to land when he apparently experienced some kind of difficulty.

"He probably struck the ground and … rotated the aircraft 180 degrees, where it came to rest and was fully engulfed" in flames, Bush said. "There were no distress calls whatsoever."

Federal Aviation Administration records list the plane as made in 1953 and registered to Irwin and Kenneth L. Justice of Sevierville.

Haun said a witness saw the plane over the runway and said the pilot appeared to have tried to land, then to take off again when the plane crashed.

Schnick said she was inside her house when she heard "a loud pop … and all of a sudden the noise of the plane just stopped," she said. "There was nothing."

Bush said emergency responders arrived in three to five minutes but found the pilot, who was still in the plane, already deceased.

He said the weather was good, and the pilot was experienced.

"We just don't know much yet," Bush said.

The pilot's body was taken to the Regional Forensic Center in Knox County.

Thursday's crash is the second fatal aviation-related accident in Sevier County in less than two months.

An April 4 sightseeing helicopter crash killed pilot Jason Dahl, 38, and passengers Johna Morvant, 49, visiting from North Carolina; her daughter Peyton Rasmussen, 22, and son Parker Rasmussen, 18; and Peyton Rasmussen's boyfriend, 21-year-old Michael Glenn Mastalez of Texas.

The 1977 Bell 206-L LongRanger, operated by Smoky Mountain Helicopters, hit trees near the top of a 1,100-foot wooden ridge behind an outlet mall before coming to a rest, in flames, on its left side.

A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report on the April crash said the helicopter "lost the rotor sound" shortly before crashing. A full report and ruling on what caused the crash could take up to a year, NTSB officials have said.

Bush said Sevierville emergency response units, which assisted Pigeon Forge in that crash, called Pigeon Forge units to assist Thursday.

"We did learn some stuff" last month about processing the scene of a downed aircraft, "and we put it to use today," Bush said. "Hopefully, it will make the NTSB and FAA's job a little easier."

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

SEVIERVILLE, TN (WJHL) – Friday afternoon, the National Transportation Safety Board revealed more details in a fatal plane crash at the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport.  According to the NTSB, the pilot died, Ray Irwin, 62, of Kodak died when his 1966 single engine Bonanza plane crashed at around 11:42 a.m. Thursday,

Officials say Irwin was performing touch-and-go landings and making circles at the airport around the time of the crash. Most pilots practice landings for proficiency, said the NTSB.

“The aircraft was doing what is called touch-and-go landings here at the airport. During one of the touch-and-go landings, the aircraft appears to have touched down without the landing gear in the down position,” said Todd Gunther, NTSB aircraft investigator. “We found three areas where the aircraft touched down and propeller struck the pavement of the runway . Afterwards, the aircraft continued to climb out from the runway and ended up impacting just to the left of center runway 10.”

The NTSB has been investigating the crash site since early Friday morning. So far, the NTSB has not found anything mechanically wrong with the plane.

“We’ve looked at the control systems in the aircraft and could find nothing wrong with those systems at this time. They looked at the structure and do not have any evidence of structural failure or any sort of in-flight fire or explosion in the aircraft.  They also looked at the engine and it appears the engine rotated at the time of impact,” said Gunther.

According to the NTSB, the plane had fuel.

Investigators will be on the site for the next couple of days. They will take a look at things like the weather conditions, the physiology of the pilot, his log records, the structure of the aircraft and the maintenance records.

No other items were on the plane other than the pilot’s personal belongings.

The NTSB says Irwin reported to the FAA 205 hours of flight, but the NTSB will take a closer look at his flight records.

It may take up to a year before NTSB releases it final report on the crash.


Story and video:  http://wjhl.com


 
Ray Irwin


SEVIERVILLE (WATE) – One person is dead after a crash at Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport.

The city of Sevierville said Ray Irwin, 62, of Kodak died when his Beech D35 Bonanza plane crashed at around 11:42 a.m. Thursday, just 15 feet off the runway. By the time first responders arrived the plane was fully engulfed in flames.

According to the initial investigation, the plane crashed while attempting to land. There were no passengers in the plane at the time of the crash.

“He’s just going to be missed you know,” Christine Irwin, Ray Irwin’s mother.

Police said the pilot was found dead inside the aircraft. His body will be taken to Knoxville Forensic Center for an autopsy. Witnesses said they heard the plane take off, heard a pop and then it crashed.

“I came out to do yard work and saw a lot of black smoke,” said Billie Schnick.

The plane came to rest next to a treeline beside a backyard.

“A gentleman who works at the airport ran up and said, ‘Plane crash, we can’t find the pilot. We think he’s been ejected. Can you help us look?’” said Schnick. “They found the pilot still strapped in the pilot’s seat.”

Irwin was the only person on board.

“The owner and next of kin are being told right now. Basically, what we do is try and memorialize the crime scene by video and photography and turn it over to the NTSB which we’ve already done at that time,” said Kevin Bush with the Sevierville Police Department.

The National Transportation Safety Board is taking over the investigation. The FAA and Knox County Forensics are also helping to investigate the crash.

“It’s painful, it’s going to take a while,” said Irwin.

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




KODAK, Tenn. (WVLT) - Christine Irwin told Local 8 News that her son, 62-year-old Ray Irwin, died in a small plane crash in Sevier County on Thursday.

Christine said her son was piloting the plane when it crashed after attempting to land at the Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Airport.

Marc Hightower, a pilot, saw the single-engine, private plane moments before the crash.

"I looked up and a plane was coming in to land and I noticed his landing gear was up. I ran inside and said to radio that guy and tell him his gear is up," said Hightower. "I think he probably figured it out because he got down real low over the runway because he got down to low power and he powers up and plans got a little wobbly."

Irwin always wanted to fly planes, according to his mother. He served in the Navy, was a nurse, and managed apartment complexes.

Christine, who is 89-years-old, said she would rely on her faith to help her through the difficult time. She said Irwin also leaves behind a sister.


Story and video:  http://www.local8now.com





SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- According to the Sevierville Police Department, the pilot of a plane is dead after a crash at the Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Airport Thursday. The crash happened at the far end of the runway.


It was a Beech D35 Bonanza plane.


The crash happened at about 12 p.m. on Thursday. It started a small fire that emergency crews quickly put out.


Marc Hightower, a pilot, watched the crash happen.


"I looked up and a plane was coming in to land and I noticed his landing gear was up. I ran inside and said to radio that guy and tell him his gear is up," said Hightower. "I think he probably figured it out because he got down real low over the runway because he got down to low power and he powers up and plans got a little wobbly."


Hightower said he didn't see the exact crash because hills obscured his view.


According SPD spokesman Bob Stahlke no one else was hurt.


A federal inspector will look at the crash scene for a final look.


Investigators have not released the pilot's identity.


Nathan House, a friend of the pilot who passed away told Local 8 News that he was supposed to be in the plane.


"I'm freaked out, really freaked out. It's like death's knocking on my door and I just missed it because I got busy. It was really strange to see that because that would have been us. Me and my girlfriend and him today," said House.


House said the pilot was a good man who loved to help others.


"He would got out of his way for people he was a nurse down in Sevierville and he was always helping people he loved his job and he was talking about retiring," he said.


Story and video:  http://www.local8now.com





SEVIERVILLE — A witness heard a "loud pop" and then silence just before the crash that killed the pilot of a privately owned plane Thursday morning. 

"I walked on out and there was black smoke billowing," said Billie Schnick, who lives just off the runway of the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport, 134 Air Museum Way, in Sevierville.


As she watched the scene unfold, she began to feel sick.


"I got a little sicker, started calling some friends of mine, saying, 'Hey, we need some prayers quickly,' " Schnick said.


The Beech D35 Bonanza plane crashed "just adjacent" to the runway around 11:45 a.m., airport manager Emily Haun said. A fire broke out but was extinguished.


The plane was locally owned, but the pilot, a frequent patron of the airport, was not the owner, Haun said. His name wasn't immediately available.


"As far as we know, he was the only person aboard," Haun said.


Federal Aviation Administration records list the plane, made in 1953, as registered to Kenneth L. Justice of Sevierville and Ray Irwin of Kodak. Neither could be reached Thursday afternoon.


The plane was over the runway when the pilot began experiencing "mechanical issues," Haun said. He was trying to take off again when the plane crashed, she said.


Schnick said she was inside her house when she heard the plane take off.


"There was a loud pop ... and all of a sudden the noise of the plane just stopped," Schnick said. "There was nothing."


The pilot made no radio calls for help, police said.


"There was no distress call, but witnesses said something caused the plane to veer off course" before it landed, Sevierville police Detective Kevin Bush said. "It landed near the wood line and was fully engulfed in flames."


Bush said emergency responders arrived in about three minutes.


The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.


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









SEVIERVILLE - The pilot of a single engine aircraft died during a crash Thursday morning at the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport in Sevierville.

A woman who lives near the crash site said she heard a pop, then silence when the Beech D35 Bonanza plane went down a little before 11:45 a.m. 

Sevierville Police said it appears the plane hit the ground while landing, then rotated 180 degrees, and stopped about 10 to 15 feet off the runway near a wooded area. When authorities arrived it was fully engulfed. 

Investigators said the pilot was killed and he was the only person on board.

Sevierville Police Department Detective Kevin Bush said there were no radio distress calls from the pilot before the crash.

Authorities described the pilot as a frequent flyer of the plane, but the pilot did not own it. 

Detective Bush said the owner of the plane has been notified and they're working to get in contact with the pilot's next of kin. 

The pilot's body will be taken to the Knoxville Forensic Center for an autopsy.

The crash comes after a fatal sightseeing helicopter crash in Pigeon Forge killed five people on April 4.

Bush said crews from the crash in Pigeon Forge helped with Thursday's investigation.

"Unfortunately, several weeks ago we had a helicopter in Pigeon Forge," Bush said. "Today they reciprocated. The helicopter was in Pigeon Forge city limits, and this one just happened to be ours. But, they went ahead, and fire command for Pigeon Forge showed up as mutual aid."

Bush said it "means a lot" that the investigating crews from April's crash in Pigeon Forge helped with Thursday's crash.

A number of different law enforcement agencies responded to the airport crash, including the Sevierville Fire Department, Sevierville Police Department, Pigeon Forge Police Department and Pigeon Forge Fire Department.

The NTSB and FAA are taking over the crash investigation.

Detective Bush said the pilot's name will be released later Thursday. 

Story and video:  http://www.wbir.com












SEVIERVILLE (WATE) – One person is dead after a crash at Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport.

Sevierville Police Department said the Beech D35 Bonanza plane crashed around 11:43 a.m. Thursday, just 15 feet off the runway. By the time first responders arrived the plane was fully engulfed in flames.

Police said the pilot was found dead inside the aircraft. Police said the owner of the plane is located out of East Tennessee. His body will be taken to Knoxville Forensic Center for an autopsy.

Witnesses said they heard the plane take off, heard a pop and then it crashed.

“I came out to do yard work and saw a lot of black smoke,” said Billie Schnick.

The tree came to rest next to a treeline beside a backyard.

“A gentleman who works at the airport ran up and said, ‘Plane crash, we can’t find the pilot. We think he’s been ejected. Can you help us look?’” said Schnick. “They found the pilot still strapped in the pilot’s seat.”

The pilot was the only person on board. His name has not been released.

“Basically the owner and next of kin are being told right now. Basically what we do is try and memorialize the crime scene by video and photography and turn it over to the NTSB which we’ve already done at that time,” said Kevin Bush with the Sevierville Police Department.

The National Transportation Safety Board is taking over the investigation. The FAA and Knox County Forensics are also helping to investigate the crash.

Story and video:   http://wate.com