Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fairchild Hiller FH-1100, Helicopter Connection LLC, N4035G: Fatal accident occurred October 06, 2016 in Lino Lakes, Anoka County, Minnesota


NTSB Identification: CEN17FA012
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 06, 2016 in Lino Lakes, MN
Aircraft: FAIRCHILD HILLER FH 1100, registration: N4035G
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On October 6, 2016, about 1645 central daylight time, a Fairchild Hiller FH 1100 helicopter, N4035G, impacted terrain during an in-flight breakup and collision with terrain while maneuvering near Lino Lakes, Minnesota. The cockpit and cabin areas were consumed by a post-crash fire. The airline transport pilot and his passenger sustained fatal injuries. The helicopter was destroyed during the impact and fire. The helicopter was registered to Helicopter Connection LLC. and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which did not operate on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Anoka County-Blaine Airport (ANE), near Minneapolis, Minnesota, about 1620.

In preliminary information given to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), several witnesses said the helicopter was maneuvering from an east bound heading to a north bound heading. They heard a loud noise, saw pieces separate from the helicopter, saw the rotor blade separate, and saw a fire.

The 48-year-old pilot held an FAA airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multi-engine land rating. He held commercial pilot privileges in airplane single engine land, airplane single engine sea, and rotorcraft helicopter. The pilot held a flight Instructor certificate with airplane single and multi-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. He held a flight engineer certificate with a turbojet rating. The pilot held a FAA special issuance first class medical certificate, dated August 16, 2016, with the following limitations: Must wear corrective lenses. Not valid for any class after 02/28/2017. The pilot reported that he had accumulated 15,000 hours of total flight time and 400 hours of flight time in the six months before the exam. The last entry in the pilot's logbook was dated September 4, 2015. The pilot accumulated 55.5 hours of total flight time in a helicopter at the time of that entry.

N4035G, was registered as a Fairchild-Hiller FH 1100 helicopter with serial number 502. According to FAA airworthiness records, the helicopter was issued a FAA standard airworthiness certificate on October 20, 1982, and was certified for normal category operations. The accident helicopter's data plate was not located in the wreckage. However, according to logbook records, the engine's serial number was listed as CAE823229. The information on the installed engine's data plate indicated the engine was an Allison (Rolls Royce) C20B engine with serial number CAE823229F, which powered a two-bladed, teetering rotor system. According to the type certificate data sheet, it had a maximum gross weight of 2,750 lbs and could be configured to accommodate a pilot, another pilot or passenger in the cockpit, and three passengers in the cabin. The last recorded annual inspection was completed on June 18, 2016, and the endorsement indicated that the helicopter had accumulated 501.7 hours of total time.

At 1645, the recorded weather at ANE was: Wind 010 degrees at 6 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition overcast clouds at 6,000 feet: temperature 15 degrees C; dew point 6 degrees C; altimeter 29.95 inches of mercury.

The main wreckage was found resting on its right side about 1,600 feet and 130 degrees from the intersection of Main Street and Sunset Avenue. Its resting heading was about 020 degrees magnetic. The wreckage found furthest south was a section of composite material, which was about 2,775 feet and 163 degrees from the same intersection. The heading and distance from the composite material to the main wreckage was about 15 degrees and 1,675 feet. Along this path, major components were found that included the floor mats, a section of white interior material, an exhaust stack, exhaust duct, a section of the tailboom with danger and an arrow printed on it, the engine cowl, a section of exterior metal with the rotating beacon, a seat cushion, a section of the tail that included the tail rotor and its gearbox, and the main wreckage at the end of this path. However, the separated main rotor blades and hub were found east of this debris path about 500 feet south of the main wreckage in a pond. All major components were accounted for at the scene.

The cockpit and cabin were deformed, discolored, charred, and melted consistent with a ground fire and impact damage. Cyclic, collective, and tail rotor control continuity could not be established due to this sustained damage to the cockpit and cabin areas. All observed control discontinuities were consistent with overload or thermal damage.

Engine, transmission, and tailrotor driveshafts exhibited separations. All observed separations were consistent with torsional overload and overload. Circumferential witness marks were found on the exterior of the tailrotor driveshaft.

The main transmission exhibited sections with thermal melting damage, soot colored discoloration, and deformation. The separation surface at the top of the mast exhibited overload fractures. The mast could not be rotated by hand.

The main rotor blades and hub that were recovered from the pond exhibited overload fractures on its mast's separation surface. Examination of the main rotor system and components outside the main wreckage did not exhibit soot colored discoloration or thermal damage.

Examination of the engine revealed that some compressor blades were missing. The observed remaining compressor blades were bent opposite the direction of rotation.

The coroner was asked to arrange for an autopsy to be performed on the pilot and take samples for toxicological testing.

A section of the transmission's mast and the section of mast from the main rotor hub were removed and were sent to the National Transportation Safety Board's Materials Laboratory for detailed examination.

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

The man and woman killed last week in a helicopter crash in Lino Lakes have been positively identified as Matthew Hayes, 48, and Deborah Smith, 47.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office released the identities Monday afternoon. Both died of injuries from the crash late Thursday afternoon.

The crash is being investigated by the Anoka County sheriff’s office and federal agencies. Based on preliminary information, officials believe Hayes, of Minneapolis, piloted the helicopter, departing from Anoka County Airport in Blaine with Smith, of Blaine, as his passenger.

The helicopter, a 1982 Fairchild Hiller FH-1100, crashed shortly after 5:30 p.m. in an open field near Sunset Avenue and Main Street, not far from a residential neighborhood. It had been in flight earlier in the day with no issues reported.

LINO LAKES, Minn. - The Anoka County Sheriff Office confirms that two people lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Lino Lakes Thursday night.

The chopper went down in a field around 5:30 p.m. near Main Street and Sunset Avenue. 

Authorities say the size of the impact area plus a large fireball of the debris that followed made it impossible for anyone to survive the crash. The trail of debris from the initial impact site was several hundred yards long.

The pilot was a 48-year-old man from Minneapolis and his passenger was a 47-year-old woman from Blaine. Their names are being withheld until family notification. 

"It landed in an open field but we're very close to dense residential neighborhoods," said Anoka County Sheriff's Cmdr. Paul Sommer. 

No one on the ground was hurt.

Witnesses said they saw the helicopter traveling in a northeast direction before suddenly experiencing distress. Sommer says those near the scene reported hearing a loud "pop" or "explosion" before seeing the helicopter's blade stop turning and the helicopter fall from the sky. 

Officials say based on the amount of debris and its placement, it seems the helicopter was breaking apart as it fell from the sky. 

Others, like Shane Chatleain says he didn't just hear an explosion before the crash, he felt it.

“Shook the house, rattled the house pretty significantly," he said.

When he ran to his bedroom window, he says he could still see debris filling the air.

“I did see the back portion of (the helicopter) land in the field over here," Chatleain said. "It was just spinning and it was on fire and it landed, so I’ve got a feeling it was part of the explosion that started it on fire and then landed over here.”

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office and other first responders arrived quickly, but there was little they could do.

"This is a horrible tragedy," said Cmdr. Sommer. "I can’t begin to describe what that scene looks like. I guess I can leave it at that.”

The preliminary investigation revealed the helicopter was a 1982 Fairchild Hiller FH-1100 and that it had been flying earlier that day without any issues. 

Authorities are asking that if anyone finds debris from the wreckage to turn it into investigators.

As the FAA joins the investigation late Thursday night, many neighbors are relieved they narrowly missed such a tragedy and heartbroken they couldn't do more.

“Your first impression was to try to run out there and try to help," Chagleain said. "But the amount of fire that there was you didn’t feel like you could do much about it.”


Multiple people were killed in a helicopter crash in Lino Lakes, according to the Anoka County Sheriff's Office.

The area is near Sunset Avenue and Main Street. Emergency crews were called to the scene around 5:30 p.m.

"What the officers discovered, a helicopter crashed in the field," said Commander Paul Sommer, Anoka County Sheriff's Office. "There is basically wreckage. There's not a lot I can tell you about the crash scene. There's a large fireball, wreckage." 

"Witnesses reported that they saw the helicopter. They heard a "pop" or a "bang" and that the rotor appeared to stop. The helicopter then just dropped out of the sky," said Sommer.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash. It released the following statement:

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the crash of a helicopter today near Lino Lakes, MN. Local search and rescue will have more information about the scene and the people on board. Our investigations take several months or a year or more to complete. Updates will be posted on the NTSB.

"We don't know what kind of aircraft this was. We can't identify much based on what remains in the field. It's basically charred up debris," said Sommer.

Investigators say it is fortunate that the helicopter crashed in an open field.

"We're very close to dense residential neighborhoods nearby here," said Sommer.

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office is asking that if anyone finds debris from the helicopter to turn it into investigators.

There was a small landing strip about a mile away from the crash site. 
Investigators don't know if the aircraft had taken off from the strip or if it was trying to land there.

"This is a horrible tragedy," said Sommer. "I can't begin to describe what that scene looks like."

Story and video:

Authorities reported “multiple fatalities” Thursday night in a helicopter crash in Lino Lakes, in the northeast metro.

The helicopter crashed in a field off Main Street and Sunset Avenue near some homes at about 5:30 p.m., prompting several calls to 911, said Anoka County sheriff’s Cmdr. Paul Sommer. He said there are “multiple fatalities” in an area of “significant wreckage.”

“There is not a lot I can tell you about the crash scene, but there’s a large fireball,” he said Thursday night at the scene. “We cannot identify much. It’s basically charred-up debris.”

Authorities could not immediately tell how many people are dead or what kind of helicopter it was, he said. No one on the ground was hurt.

Witnesses said they saw the helicopter flying, heard a pop, saw the rotary blade stop turning, then saw the helicopter drop from the sky.

Cmdr. Paul Sommer's news conference about the helicopter crash in Lino Lakes.
 Video (03:28): Anoka County Cmdr. Paul Sommer on crash: 'Large fireball, charred-up debris'
Smoke billowed in the area following the crash.

Authorities have asked residents to call Lino Lakes police at 763-427-1212 if they find any unusual objects in their yards that might be debris from the helicopter. Do not pick up or move the objects, they cautioned.

It was the second helicopter crash in the region in three weeks.

Last month, three people were injured when a North Medical Center helicopter went down on the east side of Lake Winona en route to the airport in Alexandria, Minn. There were no patients on board. That accident is still being investigated.

Story and video:

Grant County orchard workers file suit after they say they were "poisoned" by crop duster

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash – A group of seven orchard workers filed a lawsuit in Yakima County Superior Court against Jones Produce and Ag Air Flying Service after they say they became sick after being exposed to pesticides.

Columbia Legal Services, out of Seattle, sent out a news release Wednesday saying the plaintiffs in the lawsuit were at Jones Produce working in 2014 when a crop duster with Ag Air Flying Service flew over to crop dust a potato field.

The pilot of the crop dusting plane allegedly allowed the pesticides to drift off-target to the nearby orchard where the seven plaintiffs were working. Columbia Legal Services said the workers were then poisoned by the pesticide, causing the workers to suffer “headaches, numbness and tingling in the face and lips, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest.”

The suit is seeking damages, monetary compensation, for the workers’ injuries according to Columbia Legal Services.

"The pesticide laws are very clear," says Joe Morrison, a Columbia Legal Services attorney who represents the workers. "It is a violation to spray in a manner inconsistent with the label and the labels clearly state not to permit drift onto people.

Ag Air was cited by an administrative law judge in May 2016 according to Columbia Legal Services for violating pesticide application laws where they forced to pay a $440 penalty and put a pilot on suspension.

View the legal complaint here.


Blast from the past as Eastern, National jets land at Pensacola International Airport

In a sight that hasn’t been seen in more than three decades, jets from both Eastern Airlines and National Airlines were on the tarmac at Pensacola International Airport on Thursday.

Flights from both airlines landed in Pensacola after being diverted due to Hurricane Matthew, which is currently bearing down on Florida’s Atlantic coast.

For more than four decades spanning the late 1930s through 1980, Eastern and National were the only two air carriers at Pensacola International Airport, then known as Hagler Field and later Pensacola Regional. Longtime players both in the U.S. commercial airline industry, both airlines went defunct years ago, but their names have been revived in recent years by upstart airlines hoping to capitalize on a sense of nostalgia.

“It’s good to see these aircraft here again, even if it is only temporary because of the storm,” said airport director Dan Flynn. “Having both Eastern and National here at the same time is like the 1970’s again!”

National Airlines was one of the first carriers to provide commercial air service to and from Pensacola, launching flights to Mobile, Ala. and Jacksonville, Fla. on November 1, 1938. The airline operated out of Pensacola for more than 40 years until merging with Pan American Airlines in 1980. Eastern came in 1947, and continued to serve Pensacola until the airline ran out of money and went belly up in 1991.

Read more here:

Auburn University Regional Airport hosts more than 60 aircraft from Florida

Hoping to avoid damage from Hurricane Matthew, one aeronautical university in Florida decided to fly more than 60 of its planes to Auburn University Regional Airport this week. Meanwhile, officials report that local hotels are filling up fast from those who evacuated ahead of the hurricane's anticipated path up the East Coast.

Since Wednesday night, Auburn University Aviation has been offering assistance to the students and flight instructors from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus.

Bill Hutto, airport and aviation center director, said the Florida university brought in 15 of its planes Wednesday night and 45 Thursday morning.

The staff at the airport and aviation center helped the university with finding hotel rooms. “We’re glad to help,” Hutto said.

Auburn University also is offering tours of the Wellness Center and other areas on campus to the Florida group.

Hutto said the Florida university is one of Auburn's peer institutions.

“We lend a helping hand,” Hutto said.

James Roddey, director of communications at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus, said their original plan was to have some planes in the hangar at Daytona International Airport and fly some twin-engine planes away from the campus, but decided against it.

“We changed the plan and wanted to be as safe as possible,” Roddey said.

The campus has 150 flight instructors and 1,200 to 1,500 flight students, according to Roddey. It conducts 275 flights a day.

Roddey expressed his appreciation to Auburn University’s airport and aviation center.

“The airport was generous to us,” Roddey said. “Pilots are a very close-knit community. We have made a lot of good friends.”

Roddey said they hope to head back to Florida on Saturday.

As Florida along with Georgia and South Carolina brace for Hurricane Matthew, Alabama should remain out of its path, according to Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist in charge at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)’s Birmingham office.

“Most of East Alabama is in a severe to extreme drought,” Stefkovich said. "There is not a chance of rain until next Wednesday.”

Rita Smith, public information officer for the Lee County Emergency Management Agency, said it is closely monitoring the hurricane in case anything changes.

“It looks like we are out of the path,” Smith said. "Our citizen safety is the most important thing.”

Smith recommended that residents monitor the hurricane’s path as well through their NOAA radios and local media.

People coming to the Auburn-Opelika area to avoid the hurricane were filling up the hotels Thursday.

Barbara Patton, president of the Opelika Chamber of Commerce, said the city’s hotels were full by late afternoon Thursday.

Gov. Robert Bentley, at a public appearance in Alexander City, said officials are in contact with the states that will be affected by Hurricane Matthew.

“We will be giving any help that they need,” Bentley said. “We have compacts with other states to provide either National Guardsmen or any other thing that they need. Certainly our power companies work together with the other states, so we stand ready to help them just like they did when we had the April 27 tornadoes.”


Flying Flea HM14/360, N83165: Accident occurred October 06, 2016 near Waterbury Airport (N41), New Haven County, Connecticut

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA007
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 06, 2016 in Waterbury, CT
Aircraft: James Bruton FLYING FLEA, registration: N83165
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 October 6, 2016, about 1200 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Flying Flea HM14/360, N83165, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after takeoff from Waterbury Airport (N41), Waterbury, Connecticut. The private pilot was seriously injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from N41, about 1130.

According to two witnesses, the pilot was conducting touch-and-go landings. After approximately 30 minutes, the engine began to sputter on climbout. Both witnesses watched as the airplane continued in a southerly direction before descending into trees. 

Initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that both wings were broken away from the fuselage. The airplane was recovered from the accident site and retained for further examination.

PLYMOUTH — Federal Aviation Administration records indicate the small plane that crashed in Plymouth on Thursday was owned by Middlebury resident James Bruton, who had not been released from Hartford Hospital as of Friday afternoon.

Officials from both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board declined to confirm Bruton was the pilot whose engine cut out several times before it crashed into a wooded area near Camp Mattatuck and Gentile’s Camp Ground, off Mount Tobe Road. The area is not far from Waterbury Airport, a small airport for privately owned planes on the Waterbury-Plymouth border.

A hospital employee confirmed Bruton was in the Intensive Care Unit at Hartford Hospital Friday afternoon. Spokespeople for the hospital did not return phone calls Friday requesting an update on Bruton’s condition.

Terryville firefighters said the wooden, single-engine plane was approaching from the north when its engine cut out and had to dump into the trees near a pond around 5 p.m. Thursday. Immediately following the crash, eyewitness Greg Gubitosi, who works at one of the campgrounds and was fishing in the pond, ran over to the small, single-seat aircraft and called 911.

Gubitosi said the victim appeared to have facial trauma, labored breathing and couldn’t speak. He also had a “deformed left leg,” as the experimental plane had caved in on him.  Firefighters, who said the pilot suffered internal and head injuries, had to extricate the man before he was flown on the LifeStar emergency helicopter to Hartford Hospital.

Officials from both the NTSB and the FAA responded to the crash and had left the scene by early Friday afternoon. Neither agency released many details Friday, including where the aircraft had been coming from and whether it intended to land at Waterbury Airport. The cause of the crash is still being investigated.

The NTSB is expected to release a preliminary report on the accident within a week to 10 days.

“We’re still fact gathering,” said Keith Holloway, NTSB spokesperson.

By Friday afternoon, the wreckage from the experimental aircraft had been removed from the campgrounds. In aviation terms, an experimental aircraft can refer to a plane not fully proven in flight yet, using new aerospace technologies, or a homebuilt aircraft.

Firefighters said fuel leaked from the plane, but it never caught fire.

Gubitosi said the plane was flying low, circling the area, and its engine cut out twice and fired back up before going dead a third time prior to the crash. Had he not been fishing nearby, he’s not sure someone else would have heard the crash and reported it.

“He would have spent the night here if I wasn’t here,” Gubitosi said.


PLYMOUTH — A man sustained serious injuries Thursday when a single-engine airplane he was flying crashed into a wooded area near Waterbury Airport.

Firefighters said the man, who was not identified, was taken on the Life Star emergency helicopter to Hartford Hospital. His condition is unclear.

Terryville Fire Chief Mark Sekorski said the man — the only one in the single-seat plane — was “pretty banged up” when firefighters found him in the wooden, experimental aircraft, which crashed not far from a pond at the Gentile’s Campground around 5 p.m.

The man suffered head and internal injuries, the chief said. Firefighters had to extricate him from the aircraft, which was equipped with a BMW engine, before he was flown away to the hospital.

Police, fire and ambulance crews from both Waterbury and Plymouth responded, as the crash happened near the town’s borders.

Greg Gubitosi, who works at the campground and lives a few miles away, was fishing in the pond when the plane crashed. He saw the whole thing.

Gubitosi said the plane was circling around the pond when he heard its engine cut out about three times before it crashed into the woods, a few hundred yards from where he was standing.

“They do that for training sometimes, so I thought he was maybe training,” he said.

When he realized the pilot was in distress, Gubitosi noticed the plane did not have a pontoon-style landing system and worried about where he would set down.

“I thought he was trying to land in the water,” he said. “I would have had to gone in the water.”

Gubitosi dropped his fishing rod when the plane crashed, ran over to it and called 911. The man was not able to talk, he said, and had facial trauma, as well as a “deformed left leg.”

“He had labored breathing,” Gubitosi said.

Firefighters said fuel leaked from the plane but it never caught fire. They taped off the area before officials from the Federal Aviation Administration arrived to investigate.

Gubitosi said he was glad he was nearby when the crash happened, as no one else is normally at the campground this time of year.

“He would have spent the night here if I wasn’t here,” Gubitosi said.

He also said he did not know who was in the plane.

“I know all the planes that fly around here. I’ve never seen that one before.”

Story and video:

PLYMOUTH, Conn. (WTNH) — News 8 has learned that a plane has crashed near the Waterbury Airport in the town of Plymouth.

Life Star says they responded to the scene at 5:20 p.m. and that they are caring for one patient. It is unknown where the patient will be taken for further treatment. Emergency crews remain on the scene.

There are very few details being released at this time. There is no word on the severity of any injuries.

Story and video:

PLYMOUTH — One victim was extricated Thursday evening from a small plane that crashed near Waterbury Airport, a small private airport in Plymouth.

The victim was taken by Life Star helicopter to Hartford Hospital for treatment. The pilot’s name and condition have not been released.

The pilot crashed the plane off shore at Mattatuck Boy Scout camp in Terryville.


Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City crews head south for hurricane relief

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mi. (WPBN/WGTU) — Crews from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City headed south Thursday night, after getting word that their help is needed following the devastation brought on by Hurricane Matthew.

Right now, one helicopter and four crew members from Traverse City are on the way but more crew members could still be sent down.

It's unclear right now where exactly the team will be stationed. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City says they'll know more in the next day or two where they are needed most.

Commander Rob Donnell said earlier Thursday that the men and women assigned could be sent anywhere along the east coast, the hardest hit areas in Florida, or as far as Haiti.

Before the call came in, crew members were waiting at home on standby.

"If they're not home working, they're not under any crew mission limitations or flight limitations," said CDR Donnell. "So we've got our crews on a four hour standby in the event that a call does come in. We need to be able to get them as close to the affected area as we can."

Crew members could be sent to help with things like rescue operations and coastal patrols, according to CDR Donnell.

Story and video:

Just Aircraft Superstol, N373TL: Incident occurred October 05, 2016 in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County, California

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Van Nuys FSDO-01


Date: 05-OCT-16
Time: 22:51:00Z
Regis#: N373TL
Aircraft Make: JUST
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: California

Piper PA-44-180, N2185A: Incident occurred October 05, 2016 in Van Nuys, California

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Van Nuys FSDO-01


Date: 05-OCT-16
Time: 19:43:00Z
Regis#: N2185A
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA44
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: California

Bell UH-1H, Farm AG Enterprises LLC, N175SF: Accident occurred October 05, 2016 in Gila Bend, Maricopa County, Arizona


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Scottsdale FSDO-07

NTSB Identification: WPR17LA002
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 05, 2016 in Gila Bend, AZ
Aircraft: BELL UH 1H, registration: N175SF
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

On October 5, 2016, about 0915 mountain standard time, a Bell UH-1H, N175SF, rolled over during a precautionary landing near Gila Bend, Arizona. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Farm Ag Enterprises, as an aerial application flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 137. The commercial pilot was not injured, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The local flight departed a private airstrip about two hours prior. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that he had just completed a series of passes over a cotton field, and was maneuvering the helicopter for the cleanup pass, when during the final right turn he heard a loud bang. He was then unable to maintain lateral control with the foot pedals, so he immediately initiated an autorotation. During the landing flare, the left skid made contact with the ground, and the helicopter rolled onto its left side.

Beech B200 King Air, Lock Haven Aircraft Sales, N200MJ: Incident occurred October 05, 2016 in New Haven, Connecticut


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Windsor Locks FSDO-63


Date: 05-OCT-16
Time: 10:38:00Z
Regis#: N200MJ
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 200
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: STANDING (STD)
State: Connecticut

Ryan Navion, N8895H: Accident occurred October 05, 2016 in Palmer, Alaska

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA023
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 05, 2016 in Palmer, AK
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN NAVION, registration: N8895H
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot of a retractable landing gear equipped airplane reported that he landed with the landing gear retracted. He further reported that the airplane slid about 100 feet to a stop near the right edge of the runway.

The fuselage sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Safety Inspector assigned to the accident, by coincidence, was already at the accident airport for an unrelated event. The inspector observed the landing gear retracted into the wheel wells and observed the landing gear handle in the up position. He further reported that the pilot was using a "noise cancelling headset." According to the inspector, the landing gear warning horn was not designed to sound through the headset/ intercom system, but would be audible in the cockpit. He reported that during the airplane recovery process the landing gear handle was moved to the down position and the landing gear extended and locked normally.

The FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB), CE-16-08, Noise Cancelling Headsets, in part states: "In many cases, pilots are using the noise cancelling headsets as supplementary equipment during operations. When wearing these headsets, the pilot may be unaware of environmental sounds and audible warning annunciations in the cockpit that do not come through the intercom system."

The FAA SAIB recommends that general aviation pilots and operators:

• Become familiar with the safety information in FAA InFO 0700 • Elect to find other solutions to discern such alarms or sounds, or discontinue using these headsets if any audible alarms or environmental sounds cannot be discerned while wearing a noise cancelling headset. The pilot did not report whether or not he had heard the landing gear warning horn prior to landing.

Stoddard-Hamilton Glasair SH-2, N724NF: Accident occurred October 05, 2016 in Bellingham, Whatcom County, Washington

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items -   National Transportation Safety Board:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Seattle FSDO-01

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA011
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 05, 2016 in Bellingham, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/06/2017
Aircraft: FULLER NEIL H GLASAIR SH 2, registration: N724NF
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot of a tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that during the takeoff roll in left crosswind conditions, the airplane drifted to the left and he applied full right rudder. He further reported that as he lifted his heels to use right brake to correct for the left drift, the airplane veered off the runway to the left. The pilot reduced power, the airplane impacted a runway sign, and both main landing gear collapsed.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and the fuselage.

The pilot reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

A review of recorded data from the automated weather observation station located on the airport, revealed that, about 7 minutes before the accident the wind was 290 degrees true at 8 knots. The airplane departed on runway 34.

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during the takeoff roll in crosswind conditions, which resulted in a runway excursion. 

Cirrus SR22, N176CF: Iowa State president -- 'Learned my lesson' on use of planes

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State University President Steven Leath said he will be more cautious about mixing personal and official business after facing criticism over his use of university airplanes and a $1.1 million private land deal with his boss. 

Leath told the university's student government Wednesday night that he misjudged how both issues would be perceived by the public and that "I've learned my lesson." He apologized for the negative attention his actions have brought the school of 36,000 students and said he would do many things differently in hindsight.

"I'll be different," said Leath, who has been at Iowa State since 2012. "We will be very, very mindful of what we do going forward. I've learned from this."

Leath spoke before the student government approved a resolution calling on the Iowa Board of Regents to order an independent inquiry into his frequent use of two university airplanes. The board had already announced a "compliance review" of university policies on equipment use and travel hours earlier.

A pilot, Leath has been under fire after The Associated Press revealed that he damaged a university plane in a hard landing on his way home from a vacation in North Carolina last year. He has acknowledged taking that plane on four trips to North Carolina, where he owns a mountain home and business, that mixed personal and official affairs.

For the first time Wednesday, Leath also admitted to mistakes in his use of the university's second aircraft flown by school pilots. He said he regrets transporting his brother and sister-in-law on the plane to and from an NCAA basketball tournament game in 2014. He also said the plane should not have been sent to pick him up on June 1 in North Carolina after he took a few days off at his home there.

Leath said he would pay more attention to the details of his travel and limit how often he flies in university planes. He had already vowed to stop flying himself.

The plane controversy has revived questions about a land purchase involving Leath and Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter, a powerful agribusinessman who is Leath's boss and would oversee any investigation into Leath's conduct.

Leath said Wednesday that he and his wife, Janet, were looking for recreational land to build a home in central Iowa last year and were advised by real estate experts that "finding an affordable farm" there would be difficult.

He said that a 215-acre plot came up for sale in Hardin County that was "bigger than we wanted." Leath said that he and Rastetter looked at the property and decided to split it up if they could buy it together.

The two agreed on a bid price and Rastetter's company, Summit Agricultural Group, bought the land for $1.14 million at a public auction, Leath said. Once a survey was completed, a Leath family corporation purchased 145 acres for $623,000 in January while Summit kept the farmland.

Leath said that he didn't get any special treatment on the purchase, and that it should be seen as a positive that he and his family wants to settle in Iowa. But he said he understood why critics would question his private business with Rastetter.

"If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't do it the same way, which is a sad thing," he said.

Rastetter and the regents had voted months before the land purchase to approve a five-year contract that promised Leath at least $2.6 million in salary through June 2020 as long as he isn't fired for cause. Leath said he told Rastetter about the plane accident but doesn't recall whether it was before that vote.


Iowa State University:

Ames, Ia. — The Iowa Board of Regents has begun a review of the policies for use of equipment and travel at Iowa’s three public universities following concerns raised about the use of aircraft by the president of Iowa State University.

The ISU Student Government Senate, meanwhile, passed a resolution late Wednesday urging the board to move beyond a review of policies and to provide an investigative report on whether ISU President Steven Leath's use of the university's two aircraft has been in compliance with regent policy and state law.

Bob Donley, the board's executive director, has directed the board's chief internal auditor to review the university's equipment and travel policies "to ensure they are clear and consistent, and that policies and state law were followed," according to statement issued Wednesday. The review also "will certify that existing internal controls are adequate and appropriate."

Donley said he began conversations about the review Sept. 29, nearly a week after university officials confirmed ISU President Steve Leath had damaged the university's single-engine Cirrus SR22 plane during a hard landing last year in Bloomington, Ill.

The incident has since raised questions about how Leath, who has a pilot’s license, has flown the university’s smaller plane for at least four trips that mixed personal and university business. The incident also has raised questions about how the university’s two planes were purchased in 2014 and how Leath has made use of the larger King Air plane, which he is not licensed to fly and has not piloted.

“Given recent reports and inquiry, the executive director thought this was a proper course of action,” said Josh Lehman, a spokesman for the board.

Wednesday's statement was released nearly four hours before ISU's Student Government Senate took up a resolution calling on the regents to begin an investigation. Leath attended the meeting to address the senators' concerns.

Students questioned Leath for more than an hour Wednesday about his piloting of the university's smaller plane and his passenger use of the larger. Several senators asked why, if he believed his actions were in keeping with university policy, Leath announced he would stop piloting any state-owned aircraft.

“Did I break university policy? No. Did I break the law? No. But I did disappoint people,” Leath said.

Leath told the students that his use of the smaller plane has been an essential part of his being able to travel to visit donors to secure record levels of fundraising.

He said he thought he was going over and above regent policy by reimbursing the university for any flight that included mixed use of personal and professional business.

"This is my first presidency," he said. "You learn as you go."

Leath, who became ISU's president in 2012, expressed remorse about the negative attention that the issue has brought to the university, but he said he now understands better just how scrutinized all his actions will be as president of a public university.

Once the confirmation of his hard landing with the Cirrus plane, Leath has donated $15,000 to the ISU Foundation to cover the costs of repairs and storage of the plane. He also has pledged not to pilot any state-owned aircraft in the future.

Leath said the bulk of his travel has been on commercial airlines, but the availability of the smaller plane allows him to travel within Iowa most cost-effectively.

That decision to forgo use of the Cirrus, he told students, will make it more difficult for him to help raise another half-billion over the next few years to meet the university's new campaign goal.

"Maybe I'll try to get donors to fly me more now," he said. "But that's another ask for donors when they could be giving scholarships."

Leath said he had "nothing to hide" from a review by the regents, but he discouraged the students from asking the regents to widen the scope of their investigation.

The vote for the resolution was 23 to 4, with one abstention.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has described Leath's piloting of state-owned planes as "a mistake," but said Leath took the proper action by saying he would not do so again.

Regent and ISU officials have said Leath did not violate regent policy or state law in his use of either aircraft.

United Airlines takes off for last time from Santa Maria Public Airport

United Airlines loaded up its final flight and took off from the Santa Maria Public Airport for the last time Wednesday afternoon.

The airline announced that it would pack up its hub service from Santa Maria’s airport in early August.

United flights from Santa Maria had been operating at about half full since the airline switched its service last May from flying in and out of Los Angeles International Airport to San Francisco.

"It just wasn't meeting our expectations. It wasn't sustainable," United spokesman Jonathan Guerin told the Santa Maria Times in August about the Santa Maria/San Francisco flights.

Since the announcement, Santa Maria Public Airport District officials have been trying to fill the hub gap created by United’s decision.

On Sept. 13, Airport General Manager Chris Hastert traveled to Dallas, Texas, to meet with American Airlines officials in an effort to pitch adding Santa Maria’s airport to its list of destinations.

“Dallas went well. No decision has been made, just like we expected when we went there,” Hastert said.

Though airport leaders haven’t heard anything yet, they are optimistic.

“They are definitely considering Santa Maria. We hope to hear something from them soon,” Hastert said.

“Their major concern is that they have other airports close by here with the same service,” he added.

In the meantime, Hastert and his team are pursuing other leads.

“We are continuing to set up meetings with other airlines as well,” Hastert said.

In mid-August, local aviation leaders heard a presentation from Hawaii-based carrier Mokulele Airlines. A few weeks later, the Santa Maria Public Airport District signed an agreement with Mokulele to provide regular service to and from Santa Maria and L.A.

Mokulele Airlines is a family-owned and operated airline that is based at Kona International Airport on the island of Hawaii. In April, the airline announced that it had expanded its service to the U.S. mainland and now flies daily flights to and from L.A. and Imperial.

Mokulele will begin regular service Monday.

The airline will join remaining Allegiant Air in the Santa Maria Public Airport terminal. Allegiant offers flights to and from Las Vegas three times a week.

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