Thursday, September 29, 2016

Morton County Sheriff: Plane did not spray pipeline protesters

The Morton County Sheriff's Department said a plane did not drop gas on people Wednesday during a protest at construction sites near St. Anthony.

Spokesman Rob Keller said the department investigated a spray plane, which was alleged to have dropped mustard gas on protesters.

"That’s a rumor," Keller said. “It’s not mustard gas.”

Keller said it was an agricultural spray plane that had been contracted by a farmer to spray a field.

On Wednesday, the plane had made several trips from the Mandan Airport to various sites in Morton County, he said. On its way back "as a safety protocol," it dumped vegetable oil into its exhaust, which created white smoke.

The smoke was used to make the plane visible to other aircraft in the area, Keller said.

The smoke was "the same kind seen routinely at air shows," he said.

“It’s foolish to think we would drop mustard gas," he said.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol said the plane was flying 400 to 500 feet above the ground, about a half-mile from demonstrators.

Twenty-one protesters were arrested Wednesday on charges including resisting arrest, criminal trespass on private property and possession of stolen property.


Ex-United Airlines pilot gets 41 months for stalking Texan

SAN ANTONIO — Prosecutors said a former United Airlines pilot must serve 41 months in federal prison for posting online nude photos of a Texas woman he once dated.

Mark Joseph Uhlenbrock, of Chesterfield, Missouri, was sentenced Wednesday in San Antonio after earlier pleading guilty to internet stalking.

Investigators said the 62-year-old Uhlenbrock posted photos of the San Antonio woman online without her permission. Prosecutors said the stalking happened after the pair broke up and the victim had obtained restraining orders against Uhlenbrock.

Uhlenbrock was arrested in August 2015 following a search of his home and the seizure of two computers with bookmarks to social media sites where the photos were posted.


Robin DR.400-180 Regent, EC-KFG: Fatal accident occurred September 06, 2016 in Villanueva del Condado, Spain

NTSB Identification: CEN16WA357
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 06, 2016 in Villanueva del Condado, Spain
Aircraft: ROBIN DR400, registration:
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On September 6, 2016, about 1420 hours coordinated universal time (UTC), a French manufactured Robin DR400-180 airplane, Spanish registration EC-KFG, impacted terrain neat Villanueva del Condado, Leon, Spain. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The cross country flight departed from La Coruña Airport, (LECO), A Coruña, Spain, and was en route to Pamplona Airport (LEPP), Pamplona, Spain.

The accident investigation is under the jurisdiction and control of the Comisión de Investigación de Accidentes e Incidentes de Aviación Civil (CIAIAC). This report is for informational purposes and contains only information provided by the government of Spain.

Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:
Comisión de Investigación de Accidentes e Incidentes de Aviación Civil
Ministerio de Fomento
c\Fruela, 6 — 1a planta
28011 Madrid

Tel.: +(34) 91 5978900
Fax: +(34) 91 4635535


Air Zoo Restores WWII Planes That Sunk In Lake Michigan

The FM-2 Wildcat shortly after it was lifted from the depths of Lake Michigan.

Three World War II era planes that were once at the bottom of Lake Michigan have found a home at the Air Zoo in Portage. It’s the only museum in the country that has been tasked with restoring planes for the Naval Aviation Museum. The Air Zoo has already restored one submerged plane and is working to revive two more. 

Senior Conservator Greg Ward says working on these sunken aircraft has been like solving a puzzle. Take the FM-2 Wildcat, for example. It sunk on December 28th, 1944.

“The mystery was solved when we took the engine apart and found the spun bearing on the crank shaft and discovered why it quit. It wasn’t the pilot’s fault. The engine seized up from oil starvation,” Ward explains.

Ward says that’s when the pilot made a miraculous escape.

“So he nose-dived it into the water. It rolled upside down. It didn’t sink right away, but he was holding his breath underwater in the cockpit and then all this noise occurred. The ship ran over it with him still in there holding his breath,” he says.

Despite being run over by a carrier ship, Ward says the Wildcat’s pilot lived to be 86 years old.

“It’s very interesting because you know the last person who really touched those controls was the pilot,” says Ward.

Ward says before they can begin major work on a plane, they have to clean it and photograph every detail. He says the Wilcat was covered in algae and tons of invasive quagga and zebra mussels: 

“They cause corrosion - they accelerate the process. That’s why it’s virtually an emergency now to get the rest of the airplanes that are worth saving out of Lake Michigan. It used to be they were better off just sitting on the bottom until we could afford to pull another one out. Now they’re predicting five more years they’ll be virtually worthless. I mean, not savable.”

Unfortunately, money is still an issue. As a result, Ward says very few historic planes have been pulled from Lake Michigan. He says the Air Zoo has about 75 volunteers working on the Wildcat. Without them, he says the museum probably couldn’t afford to restore these corroded planes.

Air Zoo President and CEO Troy Thrash says unlike many restorations, work on these planes is in full view of the public.

“We want every person who comes to the Air Zoo to be able to see the work that we’re doing real-time. So that if they come every week or every six months or year, they’re going to be able to see progress constantly being made,” he says.

The Air Zoo also works to get local schools involved in small jobs like cleaning or sanding. Ward says he hopes some of those kids will be inspired to pursue his job - a dying art.

“In this mix of young people, they’re going to be our replacements. I’m convinced there are going to be some people who want to do this as a career," he says. "But you have to plant the seed real early, get them excited.”

Ward estimates the Wildcat will be finished in three to eight years, but that all depends on funding. Once it’s done, the Wildcat will be display at Chicago’s Navy Pier along with the names of the volunteers.

“They can someday take their grandchildren there and show them their name on the list. Tell them, ‘I helped restore that,’” says Ward.

Story, audio and photo gallery:

Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II, Loop Team, S5-DES: Fatal accident occurred September 01, 2016 in Bovec, Slovenia

NTSB Identification: CEN16WA371
Accident occurred Thursday, September 01, 2016 in Bovec, Slovenia
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration:
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On September 1, 2016, about 1545 coordinated universal time, a Piper PA-28-161, Slovenia-registration S5-DES, was destroyed when it crashed into mountainous terrain near Bovec, Slovenia. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The flight originated from Bovec Airfield (LJBO), Bovec, Slovenia, and was destined for Ljubljana Airport (LJLJ), Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The accident investigation is under the jurisdiction and control of the Republic of Slovenia. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by or obtained from the Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation Service, Republic of Slovenia. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from: 

Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation Service, 
Ministry of Infrastructure
Republic of Slovenia
Langusova 4
1535 Ljubijana, Slovenia.

Žrtve letalske nesreče so popoldne s helikopterjem prepeljali v dolino in naprej na Inštitut za sodno medicino. Kriminalisti in pristojni inšpektor vzroke nesreče še preiskujejo.

S pomočjo osebnih in drugih dokumentov ter drugih okoliščin policija ugotavlja, da gre najverjetneje za tri slovenske državljane, moške, stare 31 in 33 let. Njihovo identiteto bo dokončno potrdila sanitarna obdukcija, je pojasnil Dean Božnik s PU-ja Nova Gorica.

Po podatkih predsednika Aerokluba Bovec Dejana Kavčiča je letalo v Bovcu pristalo ob 11.50, nekaj po 17. uri pa so se odločili za polet proti letališču Brnik. Svoja prijatelja je 31-letni pilot pripeljal na rafting v Bovec. "Vreme je bilo v času odleta še vedno normalno. Bližala se je ploha oziroma lahko tudi nevihta, a je bil vzlet ob 17.35 opravljen še ob pravem času. Vsak pilot pa sam izbere pot za odlet z bovškega letališča," je navedel Kavčič in dodal, da se je pilot odločil za to smer, verjetno ocenjujoč bližajočo se spremembo vremena, njegova odločitev pa je bila korektna.

Predsednik bovškega aerokluba meni, da se je po vzletu nesrečnega letala iz Bovca nekje zataknilo. Ali so bile težave tehnične ali je bilo kaj drugega, bi bilo po njegovih besedah v tem trenutku zgolj ugibanje.

Razbitine našli blizu Krasjega vrha
Na težko dostopnem kraju blizu Krasjega vrha med Čezsočo in Drežniškimi Ravnami so ponoči našli ostanke manjšega potniškega letala piper 28, ki so ga pogrešali od sinoči. Nihče izmed treh potnikov na letalu nesreče ni preživel.

Okoliščine nesreče še niso znane, po nekaterih navedbah je v času izginotja letala, ki je vzletelo iz Bovca in je bilo namenjeno proti Brniku, območje ravno prehajala vremenska fronta z močnim dežjem. Letalo je nekaj minut pred 20. uro, torej tik preden je izginilo z radarskih zaslonov, poslalo klic na pomoč, je povedal tiskovni predstavnik novogoriške policijske uprave Dean Božnik. Klic na pomoč naj bi zaznali dve večji letali, ki sta tedaj leteli v bližini strmoglavljenega letala.

Začela se je iskalna akcija, v kateri sta sodelovala vojaški in policijski helikopter, na terenu pa so bili gorski reševalci iz Tolmina in Bovca. Na kraj so prihiteli tudi bovški gasilci, ki so policistom pomagali zavarovati območje.

Razbitine letala so našli nekaj minut pred eno uro zjutraj na težko dostopnem območju Mrzle doline pod Krasjim vrhom. Nihče izmed treh ljudi na letalu nesreče ni preživel. Poveljnik gasilske zveze Bovec Miro Bozja je za TV Slovenija dopoldne povedal, da bodo danes ponesrečence izrezali iz razbitin.

Letalo piper warrior je bilo last družbe Propilot iz Domžal, je za STA potrdil njen lastnik Primož Lajevec. Letalo so sicer uporabljali za šolanje, v četrtek popoldne pa ga je Lajevec posodil prijatelju. Trojica je popoldne poletela do Bovca, po soteskanju, ki se je zavleklo, pa so ob 17.35 poleteli nazaj proti Brniku.

Preiskava še ni končana
Kot poroča Radio Koper, jih je na poti nazaj najverjetneje ujela fronta, ki jim je ni uspelo prebiti. Po ocenah nekaterih pilotov je ob vrnitvi verjetno prišlo do poledenitve kril letala, podobno kot v julijski nesreči pri Ajdovščini, ko so umrli štirje nemški državljani.

Letalo je pilotiral 31-letni inštruktor športnega motornega letenja s profesionalno licenco, ki jo je pridobil pred kratkim. Trojica na krovu naj bi bila doma iz okolice Murske Sobote, polet z letalom pa je bil darilo za rojstni dan, še poroča Radio Koper.

Zadnja letalska nesreča s smrtnim izidom se je v Posočju zgodila pred slabimi tremi leti, ko sta v ultralahkem letalu umrla pilot in sopotnik.

Policija je kraj nesreče zavarovala, na končni odgovor, zakaj je letalo strmoglavilo, bo treba še počakati, saj preiskava še ni končana.

Na Bovškem so nekaj pred 1. uro našli manjše letalo piper 28, ki je včeraj okoli 20. ure izginilo z radarja nekje nad vasjo Čezsoča. Letalo, ki so ga iskali s helikopterjem in gorskimi reševalci, so našli na območju Mrzle doline pod Krasjim vrhom. V njem so bile tri osebe, ki padca letala niso preživele.

BOVEC > Ostanke letala in trupla treh oseb so našli na območju Krasjega vrha, ki leži med Čezsočo in Drežniškimi Ravnami na gorskem grebenu Polovnik. Mesto padca letala je zavarovala policija, o dogodku so bile obveščene vse odgovorne osebe, nadaljnja preiskava sledi danes. Po neuradnih podatkih je letalo pilotiral 32-letni Goran Trajbarič iz Filovcev pri Murski Soboti, sopotnika pa sta bila vrstnik Gregor Šomen in leto dni mlajši Denis Kalamar, prijatelja in soseda iz Murske Sobote. Polet z letalom naj bi bil darilo za rojstni dan enega od potnikov.

Gasilci so s tehničnim posegom izvlekli trupla iz razbitin letala. S policijskim helikopterjem in v spremstvu gorskih reševalcev so pokojnike odpeljali na heliodrom bovškega letališča.

Letalo je bilo last družbe Propilot iz Domžal, je potrdil njen lastnik Primož Lajevec. Letalo so sicer uporabljali za šolanje, v četrtek popoldan pa ga je posodil prijatelju, ki je na Bovško odpeljal dva svoja prijatelja na kanjonig. Popoldan je ponesrečeno letalo poletelo z Brnika proti Bovcu, po kanjoningu, ki se je po besedah Lajevca malce zavlekel, pa se je odpravilo nazaj na Brnik. Vmes je bila na tem območju tudi nevihta, zato je po njegovih besedah prišlo do zamude.

V Aeroklubu Murska Sobota so se od njih poslovili z zapisom na svoji facebook strani: “Res je imel rad letenje. Goran, Gregor, Denis, prehitro ste odšli. Pogrešali vas bomo.”

V iskalni akciji so sodelovali gorski reševalci iz Bovca in Tolmina ter tamkajšnji gasilci, na pomoč sta prišla tudi helikopterja Slovenske vojske in policije. O letalski nesreči je bila obveščena tudi pristojna služba za preiskovanje letalskih nesreč in incidentov.

Poveljnik Gasilske zveze Bovec Miro Bozja je naši novinarki Nevi Blazetič povedal več o poteku iskalne akcije. Ekipa bovških gasilcev in gorskih reševalcev je bila celo noč na terenu. Angažirali so tudi policijski helikopter, ki je pregledoval teren, a brez uspeha. Nato je predsednik Aerokluba Dejan Kavčič predlagal, da bi teren pregledovali še s pomočjo termo kamere, ki pa prav tako ni obrodila sadov, ker so bili potniki že mrtvi. Vmes se je iskalni akciji priključil tudi vojaški helikopter. Nato je eden od gorskih reševalcev, ki je prečesaval teren, zagledal razbitine letala. Gre za zelo nedostopen teren, skalovit, obraščen s številnim rastjem. Bozja je naši novinarki še dejal, da je zjutraj na kraj strmoglavljenja poletel helikopter, ki je s seboj odpeljal naprave za izrezovanje iz razbitin. Pokojnike so nato odpeljali v dolino, predvidevajo pa tudi, da bodo razbitine letala dvignili s helikopterjem in jih prav tako odpeljali v dolino.

Letalo je včeraj ob 17.35 vzletelo z letališča v Bovcu, namenjeno pa je bilo proti Brniku. Pilot je nekaj minut pred 20. uro poslal klic na pomoč, za tem pa so z letalom izgubili stik.

Kot je razvidno z radarske slike padavin, je v času izginotja letala Slovenijo ravno prehajala vremenska fronta z močnim dežjem, ki je prešla tudi Posočje.

Zadnja letalska nesreča se je v Posočju zgodila pred slabimi tremi leti, ko sta v ultra lahkem letalu umrla pilot in sopotnik, 14. julija letos pa je nad Ajdovščino strmoglavilo manjše letalo, v katerem so umrli štirje nemški državljani.

Shijiazhuang LE-500 Little Eagle: Fatal accident occurred September 15, 2016 in Shijiazhuang City, China

NTSB Identification: WPR16WA186
Accident occurred Thursday, September 15, 2016 in Shijiazhuang City, China
Aircraft: LITTLE EAGLE LE500, registration:
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On September 15, 2016, about 0308 Universal Time, a Little Eagle LE500 single-engine airplane, Chinese registration B-9246, impacted flat terrain about 1,640 feet from the approach end of runway 18, at the Luan Cheng General Aviation Airport, Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province, P.R. China. The pilot and 3 passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed in a post crash fire. The flight was an exhibition flight that had remained in the pattern at the airport, and had been airborne about 10 minutes when the pilot radioed that there was a malfunction.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is investigating the accident. As the State of Manufacture of the engine, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has designated a United States accredited representative to assist the CAAC in its investigation.

All inquiries concerning this accident should be directed to the CAAC:

Civil Aivation Administration of China (CAAC)

Aircraft Accident Investigation Division

Northern Regional Administration


Tel: +86--0311-8802-7730

New Mitsubishi regional jet being tested in Moses Lake

MOSES LAKE — Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp.’s new regional jet landed Wednesday in Moses Lake to begin flight tests ahead of certification and full production.

The Japanese airplane maker picked Washington because Japan’s airspace is too crowded for efficient flight testing. A little more than a year ago, the company opened an engineering center in Seattle to support its Moses Lake operation.

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) is expected to enter commercial service in 2018. However, the program has already experienced several delays.

Mitsubishi Aircraft is making 76-and 88-seat versions of the MRJ. The plane that landed this week at Moses Lake is the larger MRJ 90. The smaller version is the MRJ 70.

So far, customers have placed 233 firm orders, with options for 170 more and purchase rights on another 24. The company is working on an agreement with Swedish airplane lessor Rockton for 10 firm orders and 10 options. Once finalized, that would bring the total order book to 447.

However, all of those are for the MRJ 90. The lack of interest in the MRJ 70 leaves the smaller sibling’s future in doubt.

The MRJ 90 is the first commercial airliner built in Japan since 1962. With it, Mitsubishi Aircraft, which is part of Boeing-supplier Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), is trying to break into the regional jet market, which is dominated by Bombardier and Embraer. Those two are focused on breaking into the commercial jet market dominated by Boeing and Airbus.

The MRJ is not the only newcomer to the regional jet market. Russia’s Sukhoi developed its Superjet 100, which entered service in 2011. Another Russian firm, Irkut is developing the MC-21, which is slated to enter service in 2018. It has 175 firm orders and 100 options, according to Irkut’s website. The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China’s (COMAC) new regional jet, the ARJ21-700 started flying passengers in June.

Despite the crowded field, the MRJ has the biggest order book to date.

Three Washington aerospace suppliers, including two in the Everett area, already are working on Mitsubishi’s MRJ program.

Zodiac Aerospace’s Bellingham operation provides parts for the passenger cabins. AvtechTyee supplies the phones used by flight attendants, and Esterline’s Korry Electronics provides overhead control panels used in the jet’s cockpit.


Cirrus SR22, N176CF: Lawmakers raise concerns with Iowa State University plane purchase


This undated photo provided by the Bloomington Normal Airport Authority shows a damaged wing of a Cirrus SR22 single engine plane at the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Ill. Iowa State University President Steven Leath caused "substantial damage" to the university airplane he was piloting when it made a hard landing at the Illinois airport last year — a costly incident kept quiet for 14 months.

Of the foundations supporting Iowa's three public universities, only the Iowa State University Foundation reports purchasing a piece of equipment for more than $1 million and gifting that equipment to its university during the past five years.

The Des Moines Register asked the foundations for a list of such purchases after officials confirmed last week that the ISU Foundation bought a $2.4 million aircraft — a Beechcraft King Air — in 2014 and gifted it to ISU. That same year, the university spent $470,000, after trading in an older aircraft, to purchase a Cirrus SR22.

Officials with the Iowa Board of Regents said that because the $2.4 million plane was bought by the foundation, the purchase was not subject to a policy that requires universities to seek board approval for equipment purchases of more than $1 million.

"The Board of Regents does not approve any purchase made by foundations, and gifts of equipment from foundations do not require board approval," Josh Lehman, a spokesman for the board, said via email Thursday.

The process used to purchase the plane has raised questions with some lawmakers.

“There isn’t anybody in Iowa who would think it was OK for the foundation to purchase that plane outside of the university’s operating budget,” said Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Cedar Falls. “So why would they even do it?”

Foundations at the University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa have not gifted any equipment worth $1 million or more to either university in the last five years, the universities said.

ISU officials have not responded to questions asking if the ISU Foundation made other $1 million-plus purchases during the same period of time.

Both aircraft, which are used in ISU's Flight Service, were acquired using unrestricted private funds managed by the ISU Foundation, ISU officials said.

“The foundation purchased the King Air and gifted it to the university,” according to a university statement issued Sept. 23. “The university purchased the Cirrus SR22. No taxpayer money was used to acquire either aircraft.”

Lehman said the board’s executive director, Bob Donley, was informed via telephone about the purchase of the two aircraft to replace older aircraft for ISU’s Flight Service. Donley notified board leadership of the university's intent to purchase the planes to replace the older aircraft.

For universities, however, regent policy at the time required that any equipment costing more than $1 million must be submitted to the full board for approval. 

The policy also specified that the request for approval include the following information:

Description of the equipment.
Justification of the need for the equipment.
Any known alternatives to the equipment proposed.
Estimated cost and source of funding.

No such request can be found among the meeting agenda items for 2014 on the regents’ website.

Former regents Hannah Walsh and Bob Downer, who were both on the board throughout 2014, told the Press-Citizen that they don't recall any matter involving ISU Flight Service coming before the board that year.

Questions raised recently by state lawmakers suggest that the $2.4 million purchase of the plane might have faced opposition had it been discussed in an open regents meeting.

“My first question beyond the issue of safety is why does a university need to buy a plane at all?” said Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames. “My second question: How did they acquire it? … The university foundation basically needs to be subject to the same purchasing requirements as the university.”

Questions about the 2014 purchase of the planes came to light after university officials confirmed last week that Leath, who has a pilot’s license, caused $12,000 worth of damage to one of the university airplanes when trying to land last year in Bloomington, Ill.

Leath made a $15,000 donation to the ISU Foundation on Monday, university officials said, to cover the cost of repairing the damage and the subsequent storing of the plane for several weeks. He also said he no longer will pilot any state-owned aircraft.

Bruce Rastetter, regents president, said he knew about Leath's hard landing and was aware he was licensed to operate ISU's smaller plane.

Regents officials said no board policies or state laws were violated in the purchase of the aircraft or in Leath's use of the aircraft.

The regents' policy manual was changed earlier this year to require universities to notify the board's chief operating officer of any purchase between $1 million and $2 million. For equipment costing more than $2 million, the purchase may be submitted to the board for approval but at the discretion of the COO.

The policy requires the COO to provide a summary of all equipment purchases of $1 million or more to the board on a quarterly basis.

Neither UNI nor UI has university-owned planes available for use by their presidents. UI officials said the university owns three planes and a helicopter, but all are used solely for sponsored research at the Operator Performance Laboratory within the UI College of Engineering.

Travel records provided by the universities show former UNI President Bill Ruud traveled by commercial airline while on university business. The records show UI President Bruce Harreld traveled primarily by commercial airline, except for three chartered flights for which he covered the expenses.


The costly incident happened 14 months ago.

AMES, Iowa —An Iowa State University airplane was out of state far longer than the school has acknowledged after it was damaged by President Steven Leath last year.

A record obtained by The Associated Press shows the plane didn't fly back to Iowa until 10 weeks after Leath's rough landing at the Bloomington, Illinois airport.

A university spokesman said this week the plane was stored in Illinois for three to four weeks after the July 14, 2015 incident. But the record shows it didn't return to Iowa until Sept. 23, when it was flown to Pella for repairs.

The school says repairs and storage cost $13,691. Leath made a $15,000 donation to cover those costs and vowed to stop piloting university aircraft.

The accident came as Leath returned from an 11-day vacation.

McDonnell Douglas 500N, City and County of Honolulu, N5232G: Accident occurred September 02, 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Honolulu FSDO-13

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA175
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 02, 2016 in Honolulu, HI
Aircraft: MCDONNELL DOUGLAS HELICOPTER 500, registration: N5232G
Injuries: 1 Serious, 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 September 2, 2016, about 0945 Hawaii Standard Time, a McDonnell Douglas 500N helicopter, N5232G, was in an initial climb after rescuing a hiker and firefighter from the Diamond Head state trail in Honolulu, Hawaii, when the firefighter fell from the rescue net. Two crew members and one passenger were uninjured, and one crew member sustained serious injuries. The helicopter sustained no damage. The helicopter was registered to, and operated by the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii, as a public use flight operated under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from the Honolulu International Airport (HNL) about 0935. 

The operator reported that the pilot flew the helicopter from the airport to pick up an injured hiker and a firefighter from a nearby trail. A net that was attached to an approximate 75 foot line was lowered, and the hiker and firefighter climbed in. As the helicopter was flying away from the site, the firefighter fell from the net and impacted the ground about 25 feet below. 

Video evidence revealed the net struck a pole just prior to the firefighter falling from the net.

Bell 407, N361SF, owned and operated by Survival Flight: Accident occurred September 29, 2016 at Comanche County Memorial Hospital Heliport (18OK), Lawton, Oklahoma

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Transportation Safety Board of Canada; Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Lawton, OK
Accident Number: CEN16LA386
Date & Time: 09/29/2016, 0600 CDT
Registration: N361SF
Aircraft: BELL 407
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled - Air Medical (Discretionary) 

On September 29, 2016, about 0600 central daylight time, N361SF, a Bell 407 helicopter, impacted terrain following a loss of control while attempting to land at the Comanche County Memorial Hospital Heliport (18OK), Lawton, Oklahoma. The pilot and 2 crew members had minor injuries. One crew member was seriously injured, and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was owned and operated by Survival Flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as a positioning flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight which operated on a company flight plan.

The pilot reported that he approached the helipad from the southwest. It was his first landing to this helipad but had departed from the helipad on the day prior. Due to trees and transmission lines within 40-50 ft of the elevated helipad, the pilot flew a slight right-turning, steep approach. When the helicopter was approximately 125 ft above the pad and 150 ft to the southwest, the pilot commanded left cyclic to stop the right turn. He estimated the helicopter was below 40 knots, but above effective transitional life, with wind off the nose of the helicopter or slightly left, and a stable 500-ft per minute descent. The helicopter did not respond to his control input and the pilot announced his intension to the crew to go-around. He increased left cyclic until it was against his left leg and the helicopter still did not respond. The pilot lost control of the helicopter and it landed hard colliding with a wall.

An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) examined the airframe with the assistance of a technical representative from Bell Helicopter. No preimpact anomalies were discovered with the wreckage.

The engine control unit (ECU) was removed from the helicopter and sent to Triumph in West Hartford, Connecticut. With oversight from an FAA inspector, data from the unit was downloaded. The data extracted was consistent with the engine producing the required power and responding to collective control inputs.

Exceedance information captured by the ECU recorded an exceedance of main rotor speed (Nr) and torque (Q). The unit recorded 10 lines of data with this exceedance which contained information consistent with the accident sequence. Prior to the accident there were 2 spikes in engine parameters. Without changes in collective inputs, demands of flight control inputs could impact a spike on engine demand.

On the NTSB Form 6120, the pilot stated that the helicopter was loaded with 3 crew members on the right side of the helicopter, and a near full fuel load. Up to the accident landing, the helicopter had flown for 6 hours including 6 approaches and night landings at other hospitals without incident. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 46, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/25/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/13/2016
Flight Time:  2838 hours (Total, all aircraft), 140 hours (Total, this make and model), 2191 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 37 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 21 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BELL
Registration: N361SF
Model/Series: 407
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2001
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 53490
Landing Gear Type: High Skid
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/24/2016, AAIP
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 5280 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 2261.2 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Allison
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 250-C47B
Registered Owner: Air ER LLC
Rated Power: 813 hp
Operator: Viking Aviation LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135)
Operator Does Business As:  Survival Flight Services LLC
Operator Designator Code: 7ALA 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFSI, 1188 ft msl
Observation Time: 0558 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 36°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C / 9°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots, 360°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.28 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: LAWTON, OK (LAW)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Lawton, OK
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 0600 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class E

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 34.608889, -98.436667 (est)

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA386
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 29, 2016 in Lawton, OK
Aircraft: BELL 407, registration: N361SF
Injuries: 4 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 September 29, 2016, about 0600 central daylight time, a Bell 407 helicopter, N361SF, impacted terrain following a loss of control while attempting to land at the Comanche Country Memorial Hospital Heliport (18OK), Lawton, Oklahoma. The pilot and 3 crew members sustained minor injuries and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Survival Flight Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a positioning flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight which operated on a company flight plan.

The pilot reported that he maneuvered the helicopter to align with the helipad. During the descending right turn to the helipad, the pilot input left cyclic and the helicopter was unresponsive. The pilot lost control of the helicopter and it landed hard then collided with a wall.  The helicopter was retained for further examination.

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Federal investigators are searching for answers in the crash of a medical helicopter outside Comanche County Memorial Hospital early Thursday morning.

The chopper was headed back to the hospital around 6 a.m. after taking a patient to Oklahoma City. As it approached the building, something went wrong, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing.  He avoided any buildings and power lines, but one of the rotors hit a car on Gore and a brick fence at a house. The pilot and the three-member crew on board escaped injury and walked away from the crash. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were called in to investigate.

A witness said this morning that she saw the aircraft flying low, and thought it might have been a plane.  She said it was odd that there were no lights on, and then after it crashed, she realized it was a helicopter.  But federal investigators and a representative of the helicopter company are not ready to offer any theories about how it happened.

"You never want to speculate. It's an aircraft and there's a lot of things that go on in-flight,” Vice President of EMS Services for Survival Flight Andy Arthurs said. “You just don’t know until they've gotten down the road with their investigation so I wouldn't hesitate to say I can't speculate because I truly just don't know."

Arthurs flew in from the company's base in Missouri this morning when he heard about the crash.  The company has been in operation for seven years, and this is new territory.

"This has never happened before,” Arthurs said. “This is Survival Flight's first incident. Since the company was formed, we have not had an incident at any of our bases across any of our states. And unfortunately, we had our first incident."

Arthurs said when he heard the news this morning, his first thought was of the crew.

"The first thing you need to do when something like this happens is take care of your folks,” Arthurs said. “Take care of the patients, should there have been one on board which there was not. Our preparedness at Survival Flight has really been since the call came in early this morning was to take care of our people. The aircraft is just a piece of machinery. Fortunately, there was no one on the ground, and fortunately, our crew was not hurt."

Obviously, this helicopter will be out of commission for quite some time. Marketing Director for Comanche County Memorial Hospital Lori Cummins said she anticipates the new helicopter will be here sooner rather than later.

"Survival flight arrived here in Lawton and received their license on Monday of this week,” Cummins said. “So this is their fourth day of service in our community. I anticipate that they will be replacing this aircraft as soon as they possibly can and they will be providing service as quickly as possible."

Arthurs said he is extremely grateful for how quickly first responders were on the scene this morning to prevent what was already a bad situation from getting worse.

Cummins said the accident did not alter their operations at the hospital at all today.  She also said it will not impact the final preparations for their big Spirit of Survival running event on Sunday.

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Mooney Mooney M20M, Byerly Aviation dba, N3RZ: Incident occurred September 29, 2016 at Bangor International Airport (KBGR), Penobscot County, Maine


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Portland FSDO-65


Date: 29-SEP-16
Time: 15:27:00Z
Regis#: N3RZ
Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Aircraft Model: M20M
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Maine

*UPDATE* 9/29 2:17p – The Bangor International Airport (BGR) runway has reopened and operations are back to normal.

An official at the airport said the runway was reopened at 1:16 p.m. following a small aircraft incident that occurred at 11:20 a.m.

As reported earlier, the official said there were no injuries.

Airlines at the airport are now working to get passengers who were delayed back on their way out and get inbound passengers to Bangor.

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Bangor International Airport is closed after small aircraft incident on Thursday.

Officials say a small private plane experiencing landing gear problems was forced to land with the landing gear up.  The pilot was the only person onboard and was not injured.  Emergency responders are still on the scene.

BGR is working with emergency personnel and multiple agencies to clear the aircraft from the runway and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

The airport is closed at this time for all arrivals.  Departures of small aircraft are possible.


Doug Monger: Restoration gives new life to a classic aircraft

Doug Monger slides his hangar door open, revealing his 1946 Piper Super Cub at the Helena Regional Airport.

A reminder to Monger to not “do anything stupid” while flying his Super Cub.

Monger checks the alignment of a hood cover for the 1946 Piper Super Cub he is restoring. “I’m five years into a four-year project,” says Monger.

Monger’s first Super Cub in his hangar at the Helena Regional Airport.

“I had so much fun and learned so much on the first one, I thought I’d use those talents,” says Monger about his second Super Cub restoration.

Checking the hood latch, Monger conducts a pre-flight evaluation, looking for anything out of the ordinary before taking to the air.

Monger pulls his Super Cub out of the hangar for a pre-flight inspection.

Inside a hangar across from the runway and terminal building at Helena Regional Airport, history is being restored.

Fabric and sheet metal, steel tubing, gas tanks, cables, rivets, wheels, wings and struts are all coming together, and out of it is emerging a 1946 Piper Cub Super Cruiser.

Some of the airplane’s fabric skin already has the white paint with distinctive red striping it will sport the day it rolls from its hangar, and with the flip of a switch the engine coughs to life and the prop begins to spin.

“I’m five years into a four-year project,” said Doug Monger, who spends his summer days in the hangar restoring the airplane that was all but lost to a 2001 crash near the rural airstrip outside of Benchmark on the Rocky Mountain Front.

He acquired it from another owner who had purchased the wreckage and was collecting parts to use in its restoration. What Monger received, he said, “was just a pile of parts.”

“My goal was to have this flyable by the time ski season started this year,” he said and smiled.

An opportunity for travel, one he said is too good to pass up, will interrupt his work later this year. The arrival of ski season will seal the delay.

Assembling a future

This is the second airplane Monger has restored. The first one, also a 1946 Super Cruiser and just a few serial numbers distant from the one he’s currently working on, sits in a nearby hangar. Its appearance belies its 70 years. It leaps from runway to sky with the nimbleness and grace of a deer clearing a barbed-wire fence.

“I had so much fun and learned so much on the first one, I thought I’d use those talents,” he said.

Monger is tall and lanky. His blue eyes are bright when he talks about flying. Graying hair beneath a weathered yellow cap, with a Piper aircraft logo, hints at his 60 years.

His journey to the purchase of his first airplane began when his work with the parks division of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks took him to Miles City where he decided he would learn to fly.

Those who ran the airport there at that time weren’t receptive to providing flight lessons and referred him to Sunday Creek Air Park. Its laid-back atmosphere and enthusiasm for helping someone learn made it possible for Monger to become a pilot.

“I learned to fly there and had a great time flying Cubs,” he said of the Piper airplane model he flew.

It was also at the air park that he was able to watch a World War II pilot repair fabric that covered airplane framework -- an experience that never left him.

In 1996 Monger’s brother, Stan, called him to say he had found an airplane online. Together they flew in Stan’s plane to Dickinson, North Dakota, to have a look at it.

“It was rough,” Monger remembered of what awaited them.

But he also knew this was his chance.

“We were there and my heart said ‘You’re never going to find another like this,’” he added.

Thirteen years later, the fabric that covered the plane needed to be replaced.

“That started my learning process on how to recover airplanes,” he said.

His $25,000 investment required an equal amount in restoration costs. Two years later, his plane was again ready for flight.

Thrill of flight

Monger has been retired for a dozen years and left as the administrator of the state parks division. Retirement for him came after helping to have a $4 charge added to vehicle registration fees that would ensure funding for Montana’s state parks system.

The state parks system agreed during the 2003 legislative session to give up its state funding in exchange for the opt-out fee on every vehicle registration.

Retirement gives him more time for skiing. It also allows him more time for flying.

He pauses to recall his first flight, one taken with his father when he was a child. He remembers little more than the thrill of those early flights, and the smells.

The family didn’t own an airplane, but his father flew the state airplane. On occasion, one or two of his children would join him.

The aroma of aviation gas lingers in his memory, as does the soda pop from the hangar’s refrigerator that his father would offer those of the family’s seven children after returning from that day’s flight.

Aviation ran in the family, he said, explaining “My granddad was the first airport manager at Gallatin Field in Bozeman.”

His father helped out there too and plowed snow to keep the runway open.

“Aviation’s always been at the kitchen table, what happened at work, that sort of thing,” he added.

And now it’s a prominent part of his life. Winter months are spent in Bozeman where he can ski Bridger Bowl. Summers are spent here in Helena inside the hangar with his Super Cruiser.

Between his hours giving new life to the airplane, Monger tries to fly his restored Super Cruiser and gets in three days a week on average.

“A couple of hours here and there,” he said.

Maybe he’ll accumulate 100 hours a year holding the stick that controls the airplane, watching the land passing below the wings and feeling the winds that rise from the earth.

“There’s not a lot of grace in the rest of my world,” he said of what flying is like for him. “It feels really fun and graceful.”

The thrill hasn’t faded for him, not even after all of these years.

“I hope it doesn’t,” he said.

Not a day goes by, he said, that he doesn’t think how lucky he is to be healthy and able to fly.

A little help from his friends

More than 3,750 Super Cruisers were built between 1946 and 1948, according to online sources. This was a time when Piper saw aviation as having won World War II and believed those returning from military service would want to learn to fly. But the economy didn’t support that hope and production of the Super Cruiser ceased shortly after it began.

A majority of those airplanes are still registered even if some may no longer be flying, Monger said.

Because the airplane that he’s restoring was built in a factory and isn’t the product of a kit assembled by someone, the Super Cruiser has to be inspected as it’s being reassembled.

Paul Gordon, who has rebuilt four airplanes and favors those from the 1920s and 1930s, is certified to provide the required inspections, Monger said, as is Brent Vetter at Vetter Aviation, who he said has been a “godsend” for him.

People who own planes at the airport share what Monger calls the “tribal knowledge,” and they’re willing to share their tools too.

Leo Wadekamper is another of the pilots who has extensive experience in rebuilding airplanes, Monger added of the assistance and advice that’s been offered as he works his way through the reconstruction.

“It’d be hard to leave this, the knowledge and the support,” he said.

“I like at the end of the day, looking back and seeing what I did, seeing progress,” he said of what it’s like for him to give new life to a 70-year-old airplane.

“It’s kind of like a phoenix for me, bringing it back from the ashes and making it a flying bird.”

Monger has parts for another airplane, pieces he acquired after helping someone sort through “scrap” metal. The owner sold him those airplane parts after they figured out what they were worth.

Another pile of parts. Another airplane that could again rise with wind beneath wings.

“It will turn into an airplane someday," he said. "If not for me, somebody else.”

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