Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Cessna 320E Executive Skynight, N777GY, Rocky Mountain Aerial Surveys; fatal accident occurred June 15, 2016 near Mineral County Memorial Airport ( C24), Creede, Colorado -Kathryn's Report


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Denver FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA224
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 15, 2016 in Creede, CO
Aircraft: CESSNA 320E, registration: N777GY
Injuries: 3 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 June 14, 2016 about 1405 central standard time (CST), a Cessna 320E, N777GY, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Creede, Colorado. The airplane departed from Central Colorado Regional Airport (KAEJ), Buena Vista, to conduct aerial photography under contract with the United States Forest Service. The commercial pilot and two passengers on board were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Left Hand Financial, Inc and operated by Rocky Mountain Aerial Surveys under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an aerial observation flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no instrument flight plan had been filed.

According to witnesses, the airplane was flying what appeared to be a left base turn for approach to runway 25 at Mineral County Airport. The airplane was approximately 1,000 feet above-ground level when "suddenly" the airplane nose dropped and entered a steep left-hand descending turn. The airplane returned to a wings level position and continued to descend until impacting the ground. Witness stated the landing gear was up and the propellers were turning during this sequence, however, two witnesses said they did not hear the sound of an engine.

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

David Louwers

Mykhayl Sutton

The Longmont teen killed in a small-plane crash in southwestern Colorado this week was a warrior on the field, one of his football coaches said Friday.

David Louwers, 17, brought strength, humility and positive energy to Niwot High School's varsity football team, according to Scott Thomas, football coach and high school health and physical education teacher.

"As a player, he was the kind of kid that coaches get into coaching for," Thomas said. "He was just an awesome player that would really fill your tank as a coach."

A candlelight vigil is planned for 8:30 p.m. Friday at Niwot High School's practice football field, 8989 Niwot Road, Niwot, where people who knew him can share memories and photographs, he said.

Thomas said Louwers was easily excited by success and teachable in times of defeat. He said Louwers was one of the team's leading linemen and the coaches planned to have him anchor the offensive line next season during his senior year.

"When you'd just see him... his eyes were a little bit of a twinkle. He was always an extremely positive kid," Thomas said. "It didn't take but more than a couple seconds and he'd flash that giant smile that he had... and as soon as that smile came, he'd kind of give a little laugh."

Thomas said he first met Louwers when he transferred from Twin Peaks Charter Academy to Niwot High School. Everyone was aware his other passion aside from football was aviation, Thomas said.

On Wednesday, Louwers was a passenger in a Cessna 320 twin-engine aircraft that crashed under unknown circumstances around 2:40 p.m. in Mineral County near Colorado 149 and Rio Grande National Forest Road 801.

Following the news Thursday, J.B. Hall, Boulder County representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, said he spoke to Niwot High School FCA players that knew Louwers through his involvement with the organization. He said not only did Louwers have great values, he impacted lives and was loved by his teammates and community.

"He's going to be missed," Hall said. "As we walk this journey and this life, which is short we just want to remember to never forget those who have impacted our lives.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash, according to FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer.

Jere Ferrill, 51, the plane's pilot, and Mykhayl Sutton, 28, of Longmont, the only other passenger, also were killed in the crash, Mineral County coroner Charles Downing said previously.

He said the plane, owned by Rocky Mountain Aerial Survey, based at the Vance Brand Airport in Longmont, was being used to take aerial photographs.

The company specializing in airborne imagery acquisition is co-owned by Christina and Robert Louwers. They are David Louwers' parents, according to the high school's player profile.

Sutton had been the company's data acquisition manager responsible for film and digital mission planning for one year, according to the company's website.

Facebook posts about the crash came from the victims' family and friends, including Shelton Fisher, whose profile said he lives in Littleton.

"Mykhayl Sutton and I spent many hours working together in various planes when he and his brother worked for us," Fisher wrote. "He was a great guy, a friend, and a professional to work with. I have received sad news like this more than a handful of times during my aviation career and it's always a shocking and numbing experience. God rest their souls."

Michael Raaber, an employee with Rocky Mountain Aerial Survey, said Thursday that employees were not yet ready to talk about the incident.


MINERAL COUNTY - Authorities say three people were onboard a plane that crashed Wednesday afternoon near Creede.

Allen Kenitzer with the Federal Aviation Administration Office of Communications says a Cessna 320E Executive Skynight aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances at Mineral County Highway 149 and Forest Road 801.

The pilot, 51-year-old Jere Ferrill of Castle Rock was killed in the crash. Two passengers were killed also. They were 17-year-old David Louwers of Longmont and Mykhayl Sutton. Sutton's age and hometown are unknown at this time, but he did work for Rocky Mountain Aerial Surveys which is based in Longmont.

The crash was reported at about 2:40 p.m.

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

Story and video:

Cortez council endorses Boutique Air’s bid for service: Opponent criticizes plane, supports former airline

Kathryn's Report:

Cortez City Council members on Tuesday endorsed Boutique Air’s bid to serve the city and unanimously voted to authorize Mayor Karen Sheek to sign a letter waiving the city’s guarantee for twin-engine service.

The council last month authorized Sheek to sign a letter recommending the Essential Air Service (EAS) bid to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The bid includes three Denver flights and one Phoenix flight, though the Department of Transportation could opt for another flight configuration, according to airport manager Russ Machen.

Essential Air Service is a subsidized U.S. program that seeks to guarantee airline service to small towns. Under the service rules, municipalities can throw out airline bids that include only single-engine planes.

If the Department of Transportation awards Boutique Air’s bid, after 60 consecutive days of the airline’s single-engine service to Cortez, the city no longer will be guaranteed twin-engine service. However, the city could endorse twin-engine bid in the future, Hale said.

Pilot doubts plane’s safety

The city endorsement drew criticism from retired pilot Garth Greenlee, who doubted that the Pilatus PC-12, which Boutique Air utilizes, would be reliable flying to Denver over 14,000-foot peaks during winter. If the plane’s engine failed, there would be no backup, he said.

“You’re making a terrible mistake” by endorsing Boutique Air, he said.

Machen said that he didn’t know of a Boutique Air accident involving the Pilatus PC-12, but that the last accident involving a single-engine plane at Cortez Municipal Airport occurred more than 20 years ago. The PC-12 is one of the most common planes at the airport, he said.

Machen pointed out that the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t outlawed the PC-12 or other single-engine planes.

“If all of (Greenlee’s) fears were true, there would be no single-engine aircraft,” he said.

City Manager Shane Hale said city officials did not consider the plane’s accident record in discussions about air service. However, the FAA’s vetting of the plane model confirms its safety, he said. Air accidents are rare, and an incident involving a PC-12 seems to be extremely unlikely, he said.

“We have every confidence in the PC-12,” Hale said.

History of the PC-12

The PC-12 has been in production by Pilatus Aircraft since 1991. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there have been 17 incidents or accidents involving the aircraft in the U.S. since 2002. Out of those, six resulted in a total of 29 fatal injuries to passengers or crew members, according to NTSB reports.

The most recent incident took place Jan. 26 in Lawrenceville, Georgia, according to the NTSB. During takeoff, a plane was damaged after hitting a deer on the runway.

In March 2009, 13 passengers and a pilot died in a PC-12 crash near Butte, Montana, according to the NTSB. That crash was attributed to ice in the fuel system and the pilot’s failure to control the left wing when landing.

In December 2004, no injuries were reported after a Pilatus PC-12/45 lost engine power and hit two utility poles during a forced landing. Consequently, the entire fleet was fitted with a corrective unit to ensure a minimum fuel flow.

Great Lakes’ struggles

Boutique Air won the council’s confidence over Great Lakes Airlines, which has served Cortez for decades and has been the only airline to bid for the service for many years, according to Machen.

Greenlee said he had 23,000 hours of professional piloting experience in Cortez and Farmington, New Mexico. He chastised the council for their lack of faith in Great Lakes Airlines. A 2014 FAA regulation increased the number of hours pilots needed for certification from 500 to 1,500. That law made recruiting pilots more difficult for Great Lakes Airlines, which forced them to cut service and cancel flights at the Cortez airport, Machen said.

Greenlee acknowledged Great Lakes’ struggles, but said they are “trying hard” to get back to where they were before the new law. He chalked up the airline’s hardships to the “stupidity of the government,” referring to the new law. He accused the council of overlooking safety and choosing Boutique Air based on costs.

Machen said the EAS program was created to provide communities with quality air service, not to cut corners based on expenses.

Hale said Great Lakes’ loss of pilots, dwindling consumer confidence in Cortez and other issues contributed to the council’s endorsement of a different airline. Sheek said the council discussed the decision at length in multiple workshop sessions, and the endorsement wasn’t just about money.

“There were a lot of other things that came into play,” Sheek said. “We went with the airline that we think will give the citizens the best and safest service.”

Original article can be found here:

Air traffic control shouldn’t model Metro

Kathryn's Report:

By Paul Rinaldi - The Washington Times


Both transportation systems require new technology and staffing

The Metro subway system in Washington, D.C., is a national disgrace. The U.S. secretary of transportation has even threatened to shut it down unless its safety problems are repaired. Thousands of commuters and tourists would be disadvantaged if that happened.

Sadly, Metro’s problems aren’t di
fferent in kind than the woes of a much bigger and more important transit system, the air traffic control (ATC) system that guides millions of passengers to their destinations each year. No one is thinking of shutting down U.S. airspace, but unless improvements in technology and staffing are implemented soon, the nation’s capital could have a second disgrace on its hands.

The ATC system is at a crossroads. It has been subject to stop-and-start funding for years. As a result, air traffic control facilities are chronically understaffed. In addition, long-overdue technological upgrades known as NextGen have been delayed, stifling the air traffic expansion that is vital to economic growth. If these twin problems of staffing and technology continue unabated, the consequences could be dire.

The worst setback occurred in 2013, when automatic, across-the-board spending cuts called sequestration halted the hiring of new air traffic controllers for a year. Even worse, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which oversees and operates the ATC system, had to furlough controllers. The result: extensive delays across the country in passenger and cargo flights.

The consequences of sequestration still ripple through the system. The hiring freeze has left many air traffic control towers and radar facilities critically understaffed. In fact, the ATC system has the lowest number of fully certified professional controllers in more than a quarter-century. On top of that, the FAA has missed its air traffic controller hiring goals for seven years in a row, and staffing has fallen nearly 10 percent over the last five years. Air traffic controllers are working longer hours and additional days to make up for the shortage. This has led, inevitably, to exhaustion and controller fatigue on the job.

The ATC system is also technologically behind. It’s running on World War II-era radar technology with information being passed around on slips of paper.

 NextGen, a series of technology upgrades that are slowly being integrated, would track planes from satellites, not the ground. This would not only be more effective, it would also be more efficient. Because it’s an entirely new system, everything would be monitored digitally — as it should be these days.

The ATC system’s parallels to Metro’s decline are eerie. The Washington Metro’s biggest problem is deferred maintenance due to chronic underfunding. In addition, the system’s funding was inconsistent and unreliable. Management didn’t insist otherwise. For example, Metro failed to fix the tracks that were found to be unsafe in July 2015. These particular problems ultimately caused a train to derail the following month, according to The Washington Post.

Unlike most transit agencies, Metro gets nearly half of its budget from different jurisdictions and the federal government. This means its budget isn’t consistent from year to year. By one estimate, Metro would need $25 billion over the next 10 years to maintain its service as well as fix its operations and meet safety standards.

The federal government can’t afford to allow the air traffic control system to go the way of Metro. The United States has the safest and most efficient air system in the world. It can never be endangered or compromised. The ATC system’s funding can’t be interrupted or reduced again. Investments in both the controller workforce and the technology that controllers use must be stable and predictable moving forward.

No one wants the air traffic control system to become the Metro of the skies. Congress must act now.

Paul Rinaldi is president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

Original article can be found here:

Zenith/Zenair STOL, CH-701, N701JN: Engine lost power; attempted a landing on a grass runway that was soft due to recent rain; nose wheel collapsed on landing

AIRCRAFT:   2011 Zenith/Zenair STOL, CH-701, N701JN, s/n:  7-7461

Total Time Airframe 298, Hobbs Time 308. 

The last Annual Condition Inspection was performed 08/22/2015 at Hobbs time 293

ENGINE:  Corvair Model GO-140, 100HP Manufactured by Chevrolet                           

Total Time Since New is approximately 308.  

The last Annual Condition Inspection was performed 08/22/2016 at Engine Total Time 293

PROPELLER:  Warp Drive, HP HUB N17917,2 Blade Carbon Fiber TTSN 298. Last Annual 08/22/2016

Total Time Since New is approximately 298.  The last Annual Condition Inspection was performed 08/22/2015 at 293.6. 

EQUIPMENT:  1 Flt Com 403, Transponder KT 76A TSO.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  Engine lost power. Attempted a landing on a grass runway that was soft due to recent rain. Nose wheel collapsed on landing.

DESCRIPTION OF DAMAGES:  Damage includes but may not be limited to the following:      

Both wing tips and wings damaged
Nose wheel torn off
Motor mount

LOCATION OF AIRCRAFT:  Marion County Airport 15070 SW 111th Street, Dunnellon, FL 34432.

Read more here:

Lancair IV, JFT Enterprises LLC, N441JH: Incident occurred June 14, 2016 in McKinney, Collin County, Texas

Kathryn's Report:

Date: 14-JUN-16
Time: 19:48:00Z
Regis#: N441JH
Aircraft Make: LANCAIR
Aircraft Model: IV
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Dallas FSDO-05
State: Texas



Bell 206L-1 LongRanger 1, N1076Y; accident occurred June 14, 2016 in Bishop, Inyo County, California -Kathryn's Report

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Las Vegas FSDO-19


NTSB Identification: WPR16LA125
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 14, 2016 in Bishop, CA
Aircraft: BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON 206L 1, registration: N1076Y
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

On June 14, 2016, about 1550 Pacific daylight time, a Bell 206 L1 helicopter, N1076Y, was substantially damaged during an autorotative landing attempt near Bishop, California, following a loss of engine power during cruise flight. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured. The helicopter was owned and operated by a private company under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight that departed Corona Municipal Airport (AJO), Corona, California, at approximately 1320. The personal flight was destined for Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH), Mammoth, California. 

According to the pilot, the flight departed AJO with 98 gallons of fuel on board. After more than 2 hours of flight in headwinds the pilot decided to land at a local airport to refuel. While the helicopter descended through 9,000 feet mean sea level, the pilot heard an explosion in the engine compartment and immediately felt the helicopter vibrate. He then observed an engine out indication and quickly initiated an autorotation. During the helicopter's descent to land, the pilot made two attempts to restart the engine, but was unsuccessful. He pulled the collective early to avoid landing in a ditch, but the helicopter impacted the ground hard, which resulted in substantial damage to the tail boom. 

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Alaska Airlines, Boeing 737: Incident occurred June 14, 2016 in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon

Kathryn's Report:

Date: 14-JUN-16
Time: 17:52:00Z
Regis#: ASA686
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: 737
Event Type: Incident
Damage: Minor
Activity: Commercial
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Aircraft Operator: AAL-American Airlines
Flight Number: ASA686
FAA FSDO: FAA Portland FSDO-09
State: Oregon


Diamond DA-40 Diamond Star, CAE Oxford Aviation Academy Phoenix Inc., N4119S: Incident occurred June 14, 2016 at Falcon Field Airport (KFFZ), Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona


FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Scottsdale FSDO-07


Date: 14-JUN-16
Time: 19:13:00Z
Regis#: N4119S
Aircraft Make: DIAMOND
Aircraft Model: DA40
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Activity: Instruction
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)City: MESA
State: Arizona

Freezer fails at Mt. Vernon Airport (KMVN)

Kathryn's Report:

MT. VERNON — A unexpected failure of the outdoor walk-in freezer on Monday led to Wilkey's Cafe owner Donnie Wilkey asking the Airport Board to reimburse his frozen inventory.

"He and one of his suppliers inventoried everything that was in the freezer," said Mt. Vernon Outland Airport Manager Chris Collins. "It's not a fair list to turn in to the airport. He didn't buy the stock at those prices; he bought things on sale and stockpiled things. He's probably not going to (replace) all that stuff now and pay retail for all that. We need to find a way to help him and we need to study that."

Collins said Wilkey is supposed to monitor the freezer, but was not in the restaurant when it failed.

"It was the first day this year when it got up in the 90s," Collins said.

Collins explained Wilkey provided him with the information on the spoiled inventory, hoping the Airport Board would approve turning it in to the airport insurance carrier.

"I'm adamant about that — no way," Collins said. "When we put in insurance claims, it increases our premiums, and eventually can make us uninsurable. Unless it's a crater in a runway, we will avoid an insurance claim."

But, Collins and the board are willing to help the restaurant.

"We don't want to say you're going to bear this all alone," Collins said. "But, we want to be fair and not leave this up to the taxpayers."

Some of the ideas for working with Wilkey include offering a rent abatement or a reimbursement for a portion of ruined food costs.

The freezer was identified earlier this year as needing to be replaced at some point.

"When the Moose had its auction, we bought their coolers," Collins said. "We just can't help when things fail. We did our homework, bought the replacement, but it hadn't been changed out yet."

Collins said the Airport may sell the surplus walk-in cooler and purchase some indoor deep freeze units for Wilkey so he an watch them easier. Decisions on how to handle the claim and freezers are expected next month.

In other business, the Airport Board approved new signage at the facility, and the design for a new gate guard.

"A gate guard is a small plane on a pedestal which usually sits at the entrance to an airport," Collins explained.

The gate guard will be comprised of a 23-foot-long concept jet, designed by a Czechoslovakian company. The jet, named "Scaled Wings" was shown at the annual EAA Fly-In in Oshkosh, Wis., and abandoned by the maker. Hanson Air Services, a light sport aircraft manufacturer that shows at the LSA Expo at the Mt. Vernon Outland Airport, took possession of the jet prototype and donated it to the local facility.

"We now are the proud owners of a gate guard. We're going to get an airplane and mount it on a stick in front of our airport," Chairman Mike Ancona said. "We've been wanting to do that for a long time. With regards to signage, that would be a pretty neat addition."

Collins said the airport insurance carrier has asked the facility to post extra signage at the airport due to safety concerns. The funds for the gate guard and the signs is included in the facility capital plan, Momentum 2020. When SIU student Michel Junik became an intern at the airport, Collins asked him to work with T. Ham Sign Co., and design the additional signage.

Signs will post rules about the airport such as no swimming or boating on the lake and no activities after sunset without permission. The signs also list the airport number to report unsafe conditions; warnings to the public that vehicles are not allowed on the dam and directions to cargo areas for loading and off-loading of aircraft.

Other action taken by the board were:

Approving a bid from Undercut Tree Service in the amount of $9,500 to remove trees in a fence row causing a flight path obstruction; and

Approving the Salute to Freedom celebration and fireworks display on July 4.

Original article can be found here: