Sunday, October 9, 2016

Incident occurred October 08, 2016 in Kendleton, Fort Bend County, Texas

The pilot of a plane that crashed in Fort Bend County on Saturday near Kendleton has been identified.

Javier Sifuente, 53, who was a flying a single-passenger plane, was standing next to the plane in a field when first responders arrived. He suffered minor injuries, said Department of Public Safety public information trooper Eric Burse.

He attempted to land his crop dusting plane in a field, but the plane landed upside down, Burse said.

At about 6:56 p.m., dispatchers received a call about the downed plane in a field near the 2600 block of Darst Road in Beasley, said Caitilin Espinosa, Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office public information officer.

"Sifuente survived and was able to walk away, which we are thankful for," Burse said.

The scene was secured until the Federal Aviation Administration arrived to investigate, he said.

Source:   https://www.victoriaadvocate.com


A Victoria woman helped Fort Bend authorities locate a crashed plane Saturday in Fort Bend County.

Toni Gromer, 45, of Victoria was headed to the Austin area for dinner from Hitchcock in a private Cessna 182 Skylane plane with her boyfriend and two friends when a Houston area air traffic controller contacted them over the radio asking for help, she said Sunday.

The controller asked them if they could help locate a possible crashed plane in Fort Bend County just before 7 p.m. Saturday. Gromer and her friends found the plane in five to 10 minutes near Kendleton on the corner of a large field near a house, she said.

Gromer, a Strayer University student, was a passenger on the plane with two others. David Gonzalez, of Houston, was the pilot.

"At first we thought the plane just had crash landed in a field," Gromer said. "As we got lower and closer to the plane, we realized it was upside down."

The plane was white and looked as if it was intact, she said. Gromer and her friends think the plane may be a Cessna 172, she said.

"It's odd seeing a plane shape on a big open field," she said. "There was no fire or smoke."

Gromer and her friends circled around the plane for 15 minutes to help emergency responders find it, she said.

"It was definitely something that got your adrenaline up, looking for a plane and hoping you found something but not hoping it was on the ground and people were hurt," she said. "I just hope that it was able to help the emergency responders get there quicker and help get them aid faster."

The Fort Bend Sheriff's Office responded to the scene, but an official there said Sunday that only the public information officer could comment. The spokeswoman did not return calls for comment.

Source:   https://www.victoriaadvocate.com

Commentary: Don’t allow taller high-rise in East Naples

By David MacGregor, Naples, President, Experimental Aircraft Association 1067 

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is a worldwide community of aviation enthusiasts for recreational flying and an advocate of safe aviation practices.

EAA 1067, Naples Chapter, is headquartered at the Naples Municipal Airport. One of the things the EAA is most famous for is the Young Eagles program, during which EAA pilots and supporters provide free airplane rides to youngsters from 8 to 17 years of age. The program introduces them to aviation as a possible career.

Our concern is the recent proposal presented to the members of the Collier County Commission for development of the Gateway Triangle, a 5-acre parcel near the intersection of Davis Boulevard and U.S. 41 in East Naples.

The developers, Real Estate Partners International, proposed to purchase the property for $6.4 million and to build an 11-story hotel with a rooftop restaurant and an 18-story condo high-rise, along with a mix of restaurants, a movie theater and retail spaces.

The towers envisioned would be 160 feet, which raises a major safety concern for pilots taking off or approaching Naples Municipal Airport on runway 23/05. That runway goes northeast to southwest with a flight path over the Gateway Triangle property.

Fortunately, a zoning variance is necessary to construct buildings of that height, as the current zoning maximum height for that property is 112 feet (allowing a nine-story building) as set by the county commissioners.

To obtain a zoning variance, the parties need to prove a hardship. The courts have yet to rule that making less of a profit results in a hardship.

Besides being zoned for a height of 112 feet, common-sense safety would speak against putting tall buildings in the flight path of aircraft.

For the safety of our pilots, visiting pilots and the public, we believe that the proposed Triangle development should adhere to the current 112 feet height zoning allowed for the property.

If developers in the Triangle area apply for a variance, it should be denied by county commissioners.

Original article and comments: http://www.naplesnews.com

Air Tractor AT-302, N3650B: Accident occurred Wednesday, May 08, 2013 near Chambers County Airport (T00), Anahuac, Texas


















AIRCRAFT:   1979 Air Tractor AT-302 N3650B  SN# 302-0223

ENGINE:       Garrett TPE-331-1-151A  SN# P92339C

PROPELLER:  Hartzell HC-C3TN-5   SN# BV1848

APPROXIMATE TOTAL HOURS (estimated TT & TSMO from logbooks or other information):

ENGINE:       TTSN – Unknown      TSMOH = 6,316.3

PROPELLER:        TTSN – Unknown         TSMOH – 1,234.7   

AIRFRAME:  TTSN – 8,998.9                     
    
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  On 5/8/2013 aircraft experienced fuel exhaustion and landed short of the runway. 

DESCRIPTION OF DAMAGES:    Both main gear damaged, bent and torn loose; propeller bent with spinner dented, belly damaged, lower cowling damaged, left wing wrinkled,  left & right flaps buckled, ailerons damaged, windshield cracked, fuselage twisted.  Other damages likely, recommend inspection.          

LOCATION OF AIRCRAFT:   Air Salvage of Dallas (dismantled for transport)     

Read more here:    http://www.avclaims.com/N3650B.htm     

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA283
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 08, 2013 in Winnie, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/10/2014
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT-302, registration: N3650B
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot stated that, on previous flights, he noticed that the cockpit fuel quantity gauge indicated greater fuel consumption from the left fuel tank than the right fuel tank. However, during the accident flight, the fuel quantity gauge indicated greater fuel consumption from the right fuel tank than the left fuel tank. The airplane was not equipped with a fuel tank selector switch. Due to his concern about the fuel quantity imbalance, the pilot decided to land at an alternate airport. However, the engine experienced a total loss of power while the pilot was banking the airplane for landing, so he chose to land the airplane on a rough field. The airplane's left wing struck the ground, and the left main landing gear broke off. Postaccident examination of the airplane found no usable fuel in the right wing fuel tank and about 22.9 gallons of fuel in the left wing fuel tank. No contamination was found within the fuel supply. The airplane manufacturer issued Service Letters Nos. 178 and 178A in 1999 and reissued them in 2002, 2004, and 2009, to advise operators that a fuel imbalance could occur and lead to fuel starvation. A warning placard was never incorporated on AT-302 airplanes, only on later models, and no warning about this issue was added to the AT-302 flight manual.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The improper decision by the pilot to attempt a flight with a known fuel system-related maintenance discrepancy, which resulted in a fuel imbalance and subsequent fuel starvation during an approach to an alternate airport with a rough field. Contributing to the accident were the manufacturer's failure to incorporate a warning on AT-302 airplanes and to add a warning about this issue in the AT-302 flight manual.

On May 8, 2013, about 1930 central daylight time, an Air Tractor, Inc. AT-302, N3650B, impacted terrain during a forced landing to a field while on approach to Chambers County Airport (T00) Anahuac, Texas. The airplane experienced a total loss of engine power during cruise flight. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. The pilot was uninjured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Airborn AG Services Inc. under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight that was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed from Slidell Airport (ASD), Slidell, Louisiana, and was destined to Chambers County-Winnie Stowell Airport (T90), Winnie, Texas.

A ASD fixed base operator (FBO) employee stated that about 1700, he received a call from the pilot stating he needed fuel for his airplane. The FBO employee arrived about 1730 and saw that the airplane was still running. He asked the pilot to shut down the airplane, but the pilot said he could not since it would not start without an auxiliary power unit. The pilot told him to top off the airplane and went inside the FBO. As the FBO employee refueled the airplane, fuel started coming out of the fuel tank filler port and was being blown by the propeller. The FBO employee confirmed the fuel tanks were full and placed the fuel caps on. The airplane was fueled with 88 gallons, 44 gallons per side. The FBO employee went back into the FBO where he saw the pilot unplug his iPad. The FBO employee said that the pilot told him that his navigation equipment was inoperative and was using his iPad for navigation. The pilot took off about 1830 hours.

In a written statement, the pilot stated the Air Tractor, Inc. AT-302 fuel system was gravity fed to a center, low-mounted, header tank that was supplied by both left and right fuel tanks. The airplane was equipped with a fuel valve that provided only on/off selections and did not provide left/right fuel tank selections. The pilot said that he had operated the airplane in Florida for the past few months. He stated that the left fuel tank always fed faster; therefore, on spray operations, fuel was just added to the left fuel tank to maintain enough fuel for each spray load. Often times the fuel tank gauge would indicate a lower fuel quantity in the left fuel tank than in the right fuel tank, and upon fueling he would find this to always be the case. He stated that the normal average fuel consumption "working hard" was about 40 gallons per hour. The total fuel capacity was 126 gallons (63 gallons per tank) in addition to the header tank. 

The pilot said he was delivering the airplane to Anahuac, Texas. He said that that he planned the flight with 3 hours of usable fuel or 2 ½ hours with a safety factor. He departed from ASD with full fuel, for a 300 mile/2 hour flight. The pilot stated that during the flight, he noticed that fuel was not being consumed as usual, faster from the left fuel tank. During the flight he checked the right fuel tank quantity by using the single fuel gauge, which displayed fuel for either fuel tank by selecting the respective fuel tank. He said he was concerned and surprised to see the right fuel tank indicated a fuel quantity that was lower than the left fuel tank. He said that he immediately made plans to end the flight short of his destination of T90 to check the airplane or add fuel. He was 8 minutes from T90 when he approached Chambers County Airport (T00) Anahuac, Texas, which was about 12.5 nautical miles east of T90. He approached T00 from the north for a short final approach to runway12/30 (3,005 feet by 60 feet, asphalt). He rolled slightly right and away from the interstate and then rolled slightly left as he applied flaps to slow the airplane for touchdown. The engine experienced a total loss of engine power, and the airplane sink rate "surprised" the pilot. The pilot realized that the runway was too far, so he chose to land on a cow pasture on the north side of the interstate. The airplane left wing struck the ground, and the left main landing gear broke off. The airplane slid to a stop in less 100 than feet.

The pilot believed that the engine lost power because of fuel cavitation and/or starvation from unequal fuel quantities. 

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector stated that the pilot reported he was about 20 minutes east of T00 when the right fuel gauge indicated empty. He rocked the airplane, got a fuel indication, and continued the flight. Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed there was no usable fuel in the right wing fuel tank and about 22.9 gallons of fuel in the left wing fuel tank. There was no contamination noted within the fuel supply. 

Air Tractor, Inc. issued Service Letters #178 and #178A in 1999 to advise operators of fuel imbalance that could lead to fuel starvation. The Service Letters were reissued in 2002, 2004, and 2009. A warning placard was never incorporated on AT-302 airplanes, only on later models. There is also no warning in the AT-302 flight manual.

A National Transportation Safety Board Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report was not received from the pilot.

Bellingham Airport evacuated after screening swab tests positive for explosive

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Bellingham International Airport was evacuated as a precaution after a screening swab tested positive for explosives Sunday afternoon.

A Bellingham Police bomb squad was called in and investigating the incident. 


A medium black suitcase was later spotted on the sidewalk of a passenger pickup area. A bomb robot was deployed to obtain X-rays of the suitcase. Investigators later determined the suitcase was empty.


About 300 passengers were in the post-screening area at the time. Police said those people are fine and are "far from the area of concern." 


Source: http://www.king5.com

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - The Bellingham International Airport was evacuated Sunday evening. 

A bomb squad was at the airport investigating after screeners got "a positive swab for explosives," police said.

The item swabbed was luggage left unattended. By Sunday evening, police had determined the luggage was "completely empty."

At least one flight was impacted, according to police. Operations were beginning to resume as normal at about 5:15 p.m.

Around 300 passengers were allowed to stay in a post-screening area during the investigation, "far from the area of concern," police said. 

Source:   http://www.kiro7.com

Minden-Tahoe Airport updating master plan

Armstrong Consultants and Airport Manager Bobbi Thompson gave a presentation on Thursday to the Board of County Commissioners on an update to the airport master plan.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires that a master plan be updated every 5-10 years.

The Minden-Tahoe Airport was built in 1942 as a military training base and is now home to 18 businesses, 340 based aircraft and an estimated economic impact of $47 million, according to their website.

The master plan forecasts projects that need to get done or things they will possibly look at updating or adding in the future.

While the plan doesn’t guarantee any funding, it looks at where it would be most appropriate for development to occur.

The plan also doesn’t look at environmental impacts, which would have to be done in a separate report.

Some areas that the plan is looking at include the correction of non-standard runway and object free areas, updating the taxiway advisories and widening the runway.

They will also look at the staging and storing of gliders in order to segregate them from powered aircraft.

Increasing vehicle parking and the construction of a snow removal equipment building are being looked at as well as improving the terminal area.

The FAA will review the master plan, and the airport will place it on their website for 30 days for public comment before bringing a more finalized plan to the board in December.

Commissioner Barry Penzel recommended that the airport work with the county in preparing both the county master plan and the airport master plan, which Thompson said they are already doing.

“Going beyond the current airport boundaries is not going to be an easy thing,” said Penzel.

The airport will be working on their update until the December commission meeting.

Source: http://www.recordcourier.com

Wrongful death lawsuit filed in Glazer plane crash: Socata TBM700N (TBM900), N900KN, fatal accident occurred September 05, 2014 in open water near the coast of northeast Jamaica

Read the full lawsuit: https://drive.google.com


Larry and Jane Glazer


 Larry Glazer



The youngest son of Larry and Jane Glazer has brought a wrongful death lawsuit against several aircraft companies stemming from the plane crash that killed his parents two years ago.

Kenneth Glazer, the administrator of the couple's estate, claims in a civil complaint that the companies were negligent in the design, manufacture, testing and sale of the Socata TBM 900 aircraft that Larry Glazer was piloting on Sept. 5, 2014, and which went down off the coast of Jamaica in dramatic fashion.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that the plane's cabin pressurization system was faulty and that some of the companies knew it could malfunction but had neglected to warn the Glazers of the risk or provide protection for them.

Nowhere does the complaint identify precisely what flaw or series of flaws were responsible for the crash, however.

"The family is obviously devastated by this, as I think the community is in general, and they want answers to prevent something like this from happening in the future and they want accountability," said Glazer's lawyer, Daniel Rose, a partner at Kreindler & Kreindler, a New York City law firm that specializes in air disaster litigation.

The complaint was filed in state Supreme Court on Aug. 30 and names as defendants 17 foreign and domestic companies, many of them related.

Most of the complaint's 85 pages focus on the plane's manufacturer, Socata  S.A.S., a French company, and Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse S.A.S., another French company that designed the cabin pressurization system, as well as the subsidiaries of those two companies.

The lawsuits seek damages on behalf of all beneficiaries of the Glazers' estate, including the couple's two other children, Melinda Glazer Maclaren and Richard Glazer.

The Glazers, prominent local real estate developers and philanthropists, had taken off from the Greater Rochester International Airport at 8:26 a.m. the day of their fatal flight, and were bound for Naples, Florida, where they had a vacation home.

Larry Glazer, an experienced pilot, was at the controls at 28,000 feet around 10 a.m. when he radioed air traffic controllers to report "an indication that is not correct in the plane" and asked permission to descend to 18,000 feet.

Controllers initially cleared Larry Glazer to go down to 25,000 feet, which he did, but when they directed him to descend to 20,000 feet a few moments later, his speech had become slurred and he didn't respond.

Two Air National Guard fighter jets who were dispatched from South Carolina to intercept the plane reported seeing Larry Glazer slumped over the controls but breathing and the cockpit windows frosting over.

The jets shadowed the Glazers past Florida and over the Bahamas, but disengaged prior to the plane entering Cuban airspace, where it gradually descended as the engine ran out of fuel and crashed into the Caribbean Sea.

The Glazers were both 68 years old.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which opened an investigation into the crash, has not released any findings. Eric Weiss, an agency spokesman, said Tuesday the probe was still ongoing.

But many experts at the time of the crash speculated that the aircraft experienced a gradual loss of air pressure, causing the Glazers to suffer a lack of oxygen that caused them to become disoriented and eventually fall unconscious.

The complaint draws on that speculation, claiming that, "upon information and belief, at some time after takeoff, unbeknownst to Larry Glazer, the cabin of the subject aircraft began to insidiously depressurize."

The Socata TBM 900 the Glazers were flying was the first one off the assembly line.

According to the complaint, Socata had contacted Larry Glazer about purchasing the plane because Glazer, who had extensive experience flying Socata TBM aircraft, was president of the TBM Owners and Pilots Association.

He agreed to buy the $3.7 million plane in February 2014.

A newer Socata TBM model, the 930, which was released this year and is an extension of the TBM 900, is reportedly equipped with an emergency descent mode.

The function is designed to automatically bring the plan down to 15,000 feet in case of a loss of cabin pressure, unless the pilot responds.

Source:   http://www.democratandchronicle.com

Read the full lawsuit: https://drive.google.com


Transcript of N900KN conversations with air traffic control before the pilot lost consciousness

Pilot: TBM 900KN flight level 280

ATC: November 900KN Atlanta…

Pilot: 900KN we need to descend down to about [flight level] 180, we have an indication … not correct in the plane.

ATC: 900KN descend and maintain 250.

Pilot: 250 we need to get lower 900KN.

ATC: Working on that.

Pilot: Have to get down. And reserve fuel… limit a return… thirty-three left… have to get down.

ATC: Thirty left 900KN

Pilot: 00900KN (holds transmit button)

ATC: N0KN you’re cleared direct to Taylor.

ATC: 0KN, cleared direct to Taylor.

Pilot: Direct Taylor, 900KN.

ATC: Copy that you got descent (slope?) 200…

Pilot: (mumbling)

ATC: Descent and maintain flight level 200, and you are cleared direct Taylor.

Pilot: KN900KN (sounds confused)

ATC: Understand me, descend and maintain flight level 200, flight level 200, for N900KN

ATC: TBM, TBM 0KN, descend and maintain flight level 200

ATC: 0KN, if you hear this, transmit and ident.



ATC: N900KN, Atlanta center, how do you read?

ATC: N900KN, Atlanta Center… AC5685, keep trying N900KN

AC5685: TBM900KN, this is AC5685, how do you read? (Military aircraft?)

ATC: N900KN, Atlanta Center, how do you read?

AC5685: TBM900KN, AC5685, how do you read?

ATC: N900KN, TBM, 900KN, Atlanta Center, how do you hear this…

ATC: N0KN, descent now, descent now to flight level 200.

ATC: N900KN, TBM 900KN, if you hear this transmission, contact … center 127.87

ATC: N0KN, TBM 0KN, contact … center 127.87 if you hear this…





NEW 51LG LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N900KN

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA424 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 05, 2014 in Open Water, Jamaica
Aircraft: SOCATA TBM 700, registration: N900KN
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 5, 2014, about 1410 eastern daylight time (EDT), a Socata TBM700 (marketed as TBM900), N900KN, impacted open water near the coast of northeast Jamaica. The commercial pilot/owner and his passenger were fatally injured. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight that originated from Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC), Rochester, New York at 0826 and destined for Naples Municipal Airport (APF), Naples, Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.


According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) data received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), after departing ROC the pilot climbed to FL280 and leveled off. About 1000 the pilot contacted ATC to report an "indication that is not correct in the plane" and to request a descent to FL180. The controller issued instructions to the pilot to descend to FL250 and subsequently, due to traffic, instructed him to turn 30 degrees to the left and then descend to FL200. During this sequence the pilot became unresponsive. An Air National Guard intercept that consisted of two fighter jets was dispatched from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Eastover, South Carolina and intercepted the airplane at FL250 about 40 miles northwest of Charleston, South Carolina. The fighters were relieved by two fighter jets from Homestead Air Force Base, Homestead, Florida that followed the airplane to Andros Island, Bahamas, and disengaged prior to entering Cuban airspace. The airplane flew through Cuban airspace, eventually began a descent from FL250 and impacted open water northeast of Port Antonio, Jamaica.

According to a review of preliminary radar data received from the FAA, the airplane entered a high rate of descent from FL250 prior to impacting the water. The last radar target was recorded over open water about 10,000 feet at 18.3547N, -76.44049W.

The Jamaican Defense Authority and United States Coast Guard conducted a search and rescue operation. Search aircraft observed an oil slick and small pieces of debris scattered over one-quarter mile that were located near the last radar target. Both entities concluded their search on September 7, 2014.

Aviation company manager banned from Clovis Municipal Airport

The general manager of an aviation company that operates at the Clovis Municipal Airport said the city has banned him from airport property because he has raised concerns about the airport director — but the city’s attorney said the action is justifiable.

In a letter from City Manager Larry Fry to Blue Sky Aviation General Manager Carlos Arias dated Oct. 4, 2016, Arias is informed “The City of Clovis hereby notifies you that from receipt of this letter, and until rescinded in writing, you are banned from Clovis Municipal Airport. You must relinquish access cards. You are not permitted to enter or remain upon any portion of the airport property. Violation of this notice will constitute a criminal trespass and will result in arrest and prosecution.”

The letter cites Chapter 30, Article 14 of the New Mexico State Statutes regarding trespassing.

“I contacted (City Attorney) Mr. (David) Richards and Mr. Fry to get a reason and they declined to offer a reason,” Arias said with regard to the ban. “I was in my office and the letter was hand delivered by the Clovis Police Department. I was escorted off the premises.”

Arias said he believes the ban order stems from he and others alleging improprieties by Clovis Municipal Airport Director Kyle Berkshire.

“I am a member of the Clovis Pilots Association and we have been involved with allegations of violations against Mr. Berkshire,” he said. “We’re holding the city accountable for rules and regulations violations. I believe the ban is retaliatory. I was actually in the process of completing a formal complaint against Mr. Berkshire when the police appeared on the premises. I believe my rights have been violated, because this is a publicly-subsidized airport.”

Richards said the city has grounds for the ban.

“The ban was justified and is in compliance with New Mexico law,” he said. “The law does not require a landowner to supply a reason for not allowing someone to enter that person’s land. The ban was not retaliatory.”

Last month, Clovis Pilots Association President Robert Thorn alleged in an email to city officials Berkshire flew his airplane on city business to Albuquerque International Airport from Clovis Municipal Airport and then back as a student pilot without the knowledge of his instructor.

Thorn wrote Berkshire’s alleged actions were “the equivalent of a city employee driving their personal car that is not registered doing city business without a driver’s license to Albuquerque and back.”

Berkshire has denied the allegations.

Source:  http://www.cnjonline.com

Motorsports group briefly withholds payment in attempt to spur city



The committee working to build the Lompoc Valley Motorsports Park briefly withheld a scheduled payment to the city this past week in an apparent attempt to spur the city into taking action regarding a land-use issue at the Lompoc Airport.

The controversial project is in a state of limbo until the Federal Aviation Administration signs off a new layout plan for the Lompoc Airport, which is where the project is planned for construction. The city announced last month that it was told by the FAA that the organization would not approve such a plan until a satisfactory agreement is reached between the city, the motorsports group and the owner of Skydive Santa Barbara, which operates from the Lompoc Airport.

Carl Creel and Will Schuyler, who are co-chairs of the motorsports project’s organizing committee, each stressed at Tuesday’s City Council meeting that they believe the city isn’t doing its part to help the project along. They pointed to what they felt was a lack of progress from the city in reaching a resolution with Skydive Santa Barbara and announced that they would be withholding a $12,622 payment, which was due Sept. 30, due to the city’s “lack of performance.”

“The FAA has told the city that we are to draw a line, a spot for (Skydive Santa Barbara), but it doesn’t say where it has to be,” Schuyler said at the meeting. “So I have advised my group to withhold payment, because we haven’t had any performance from the city. You’re holding us up and you’ve been holding us up for several years over this very item. The city is the landlord and (Skydive Santa Barbara) is your tenant.”

Creel later accused David Hughes, the owner of Skydive Santa Barbara, of “holding the project hostage.”

Lompoc City Manager Patrick Wiemiller said at the meeting that he was “extremely disturbed” by what he deemed as an “intentional breach” of the memorandum of understanding between the city and the project committee, which requires that the committee submit a $12,622 payment to the city each month from August through November.

Wiemiller said that night that he was considering his options moving forward, which included directing city staff to cease work on the project, but the two sides met Wednesday and apparently worked out their differences for the time being.

The city announced Wednesday afternoon that the committee had submitted the September payment that day, and stated in a release that “city of Lompoc administrators and (motorsports project) leadership have resolved to work together to continue moving the project forward.”

Hughes, the Skydive Santa Barbara owner, has in the past publicly stated his opposition to the project and has suggested that it could force him to move his business to Santa Maria. Ever since the FAA issue was brought to light, however, he has not spoken at any public meetings.

Some people close to the motorsports project have said their intention is not to force Hughes and Skydive Santa Barbara out of the Lompoc Airport but, rather, to move the business’ landing area to a different but equal in size location.

If all sides fail to reach an acceptable arrangement, the FAA will be the arbitrator, according to city staff.

Since the payment issue was sorted out Wednesday, city staff reports that City Council review of the final Environmental Impact Report, or EIR, for the project is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 1.

Lompoc Planning Manager Lucille Breese also announced Tuesday that California State Parks acknowledged on Sept. 15 that it will be reimbursing the city $171,819 as part of the nearly $1 million grant awarded from the state to the city for the project.

In separate action Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to amend the city’s municipal code relating to the Parks and Recreation Commission, which is a separate entity from the Lompoc Parks, Recreation and Pool Foundation (LVPRPF) that is overseeing the Motorsports Park project.

It was discovered in February that the commission had been empowered with fee and policy-setting authority, which was in violation of state law. That authority now will be solely placed on the City Council, with the Parks and Recreation Commission serving in an advisory role.

The next regular meeting of the City Council is slated for Oct. 18. 

Story and photo gallery:  http://lompocrecord.com

Robinson R22 Beta, N771MM, LLB Enterprises Group Inc: Fatal accident occurred December 29, 2014 near Palm Beach County Park/Lantana Airport (KLNA), Lantana, Florida

The NTSB traveled to the scene of this accident.

Docket And Docket Items: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA085
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 29, 2014 in Lake Worth, FL
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22 BETA, registration: N771MM
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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.

***This report was modified on January 25, 2017. Please see the public docket for this accident to view the original report.***

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 29, 2014, at 1025 eastern standard time, a Robinson R22 Beta, N771MM, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while performing an autorotation near Palm Beach County Park Airport (LNA), Lake Worth, Florida. The flight instructor (CFI) was fatally injured, and the student pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight, which departed about 0940. The flight was operated by Palm Beach Helicopters, Inc., and was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

A witness, who was a CFI, reported that he and a student were taxiing their airplane to runway 15 for takeoff when they heard the accident helicopter announce its position on a right base leg, with the intent to conduct an autorotation to taxiway Bravo. The CFI then offered to hold at the airplane's present position to allow the helicopter more room to conduct the maneuver. He stated that the helicopter pilot thanked him, and shortly thereafter, he observed the helicopter enter a "rapid descent typical of [autorotation]" from an altitude of between 800-1,000 feet above ground level (agl). About 500 feet agl, the helicopter appeared to level off, then pitched abruptly nose-down and descended to ground contact. Just prior to impact, he heard a panicked radio transmission from the helicopter that was mostly unintelligible. He also stated that, based on the accent he heard, he believed the CFI onboard the helicopter was conducting all radio transmissions.

Another CFI, who was taxiing a helicopter with a student on the south side of the airport, reported hearing the accident helicopter transmit, "we're going in the grass" over the airport's common traffic advisory frequency. Shortly thereafter, an airplane in the airport traffic pattern reported that there was a helicopter down, and the CFI in the helicopter flew to the accident site to render assistance. 

In a statement to law enforcement two days after the accident, the student pilot recounted that he and the CFI were practicing autorotations following a simulated engine failure. The student stated that he could not recall whether he or the CFI initiated the autorotation. About 100 feet above ground level, the CFI said, "We're going down, we're going down," and at that time, the CFI was controlling the helicopter. The student stated that, until that point, the autorotation had "appeared pretty normal," and he added, "I don't know if the engine cut off, or the engine didn't turn back on." 

In a subsequent interview, conducted about two weeks after the accident, the student stated that the flight was Lesson 2 in Stage 3 of the school's private pilot training course. He reported that he could not recall most of the accident flight, but recalled that prior to the accident, he and the CFI had been flying for approximately 40 minutes and had conducted 2 or 3 steep approaches as well as a maximum-performance takeoff. The accident autorotation was the first of the accident flight. He stated that he could not recall who initiated the autorotation or the rotor rpm indication during the maneuver. He remembered that the CFI was controlling the helicopter as it descended through about 100 feet above ground level, and as the CFI rolled on the throttle in an attempt to recover, there was no response from the engine. The CFI stated, "We're going down, we're going down." The student also stated that, on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, he observed the CFI using his cell phone and stated that he appeared to be conducting a video call, as he briefly saw someone on the phone's screen. He stated that the CFI turned the phone to face outside of the helicopter as if he was showing the view out the helicopter's windscreen to the individual on the phone. He could not recall when the CFI discontinued the use of the phone.

In a written statement provided after the interview, the student recalled that the CFI "asked for the controls," on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern prior to entering the autorotation. The student stated that he "handed over the controls and looked south out my door enjoying the view." The student then recalled looking at the ground "in a nose down attitude" as the helicopter descended, and seeing the CFI "fighting with the cyclic and collective." 

Surveillance video from a building near the accident site captured approximately the last 2 seconds of the flight before impact, and showed the helicopter descending rapidly at a steep angle. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION 

The CFI held commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates, both with ratings for rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument helicopter; as well as an airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate was issued in March 2014. Review of operator records revealed the CFI had about 397 total hours of flight experience, of which about 280 hours were in the accident helicopter make and model. He had accumulated about 121 hours of flight instruction given. 

The student held an FAA second-class medical and student pilot certificate, which was issued in December 2012. He reported about 37 total hours of flight time, all of which was in the accident helicopter make and model. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The helicopter was manufactured in 1996 and was equipped with one Lycoming O-360 series, 145 hp reciprocating engine. Review of maintenance records provided by the operator indicated that the helicopter's most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on December 1, 2014. At that time, the airframe had accumulated a total time of 4,162.9 hours, and the engine had accumulated 1,978.7 hours since its most recent overhaul. The helicopter's 2,200-hour inspection was completed on February 13, 2013 at a total airframe time of 2,184.2 hours. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION 

The 0953 automated weather observation at PBI recorded wind from 180 degrees at 7 knots, 10 miles visibility, scattered clouds at 2,100 ft, temperature 26 degrees C, dew point 22 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury. Review of a carburetor icing probability chart revealed the potential for serious carburetor icing at glide power. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The helicopter came to rest on its left side in a grassy area about 700 feet northwest of the runway 15 threshold at LNA. The wreckage path was oriented approximately 140 degrees magnetic, and extended about 75 feet from the initial impact point to where the fuselage came to rest. The initial impact point was identified as a large metal stake, about 3 feet in height. The second point of impact was a small crater measuring about 4 feet long and 1 foot deep, located about 15 feet past the initial impact point. A portion of the forward skid crosstube was located in the crater. The vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, and portion of the tail rotor came to rest next to the crater. The tail boom was separated from the fuselage, and fractured into several pieces, some of which displayed signatures consistent with main rotor blade contact. The skids separated from the fuselage and were fractured into several sections, which were located along the wreckage path. 

The fuselage exhibited downward crushing, and the cabin was fractured aft of the seat structures. Both the auxiliary and main fuel tanks were intact and contained fuel, and both fuel caps were secure. The fuel vent tubes were separated from the auxiliary tank by impact, which allowed fuel to drain from the tanks following the accident. 

The main rotor remained attached to the fuselage. One blade was bent up and displayed several chordwise creases along its span. The second blade was bent up about 45 degrees near its root. Neither blade displayed significant leading edge damage. The tail rotor drive shaft separated from the helicopter during the accident sequence, and a 5-foot portion was located about 500 feet west of the main wreckage. The aft portion of the tail rotor drive shaft was not recovered.

The helicopter was removed from the accident site and transported to a secure facility for further examination. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit area to the main rotor system. Tail rotor control continuity was established from the cockpit to the intermediate flex coupling. The main rotor gearbox rotated smoothly by hand with no anomalies observed. Examination of the v-belts, sheaves, and overrunning clutch also revealed no anomalies. Tail rotor drive continuity was established from the upper drive sheave to the intermediate flex coupling. The tail rotor gearbox rotated smoothly, with no anomalies noted. 

The engine remained attached to the airframe at its mount. The mixture control wire was impact-separated from the mixture control arm. The carburetor heat control was bent, and was in the off position. The carburetor air box was partially crushed, and the carburetor heat slider valve was in a mid-travel, partially open position. The carburetor remained attached to the engine, and the throttle control arm was observed about 1/8 inch from the full-throttle position. The exhaust system was partially crushed. The sparkplugs were removed and displayed normal wear characteristics. The engine was rotated by hand at the cooling fan, and thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders. Crankshaft continuity was established to the accessory gears. Oil was added to the engine to facilitate a test run, and when power was applied to the engine starter, the engine started, accelerated, and ran continuously for several minutes utilizing the fuel onboard. A magneto check was performed with no anomalies noted.

The engine was shut down, and the carburetor, oil filter, and oil suction screen were removed for examination. The carburetor float bowl contained blue liquid consistent with 100LL aviation fuel, and did not display any sign of contamination. There was no damage to the internal components of the carburetor, and the fuel inlet screen was absent of debris. 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the CFI by the Office of the District Medical Examiner, District 15, Palm Beach County, Florida. The cause of death was identified as blunt force injuries. Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Testing was negative for carbon monoxide, ethanol, and all tested-for drugs and their metabolites.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Cell Phone Information

The CFI's cell phone was retained for examination in the NTSB vehicle recorders laboratory; however, the device was passcode-protected and could not be unlocked. Usage records obtained from the cellular service provider could not conclusively determine whether the phone was in use at the time of the accident. 

Practice Autorotations

According to the pilot training syllabus provided by the flight school, the objective of Stage 3, Lesson 2 was for the student to practice advanced maneuvers and procedures, including normal and steep approach, normal and maximum performance takeoff, hovering, hover taxi, air taxi, ground reference maneuvers, emergency operations, autorotation to a power recovery, loss of tail rotor, stuck pedal, hovering out of ground effect, and confined area operation. 

Review of the student's training record indicated that he completed Stage 2 of the syllabus on December 23, 2014. Instructor notes for the previous flight, dated December 22, 2014, indicated, "gap in training is evident in proficiency, basic straight [and] level unsatisfactory, [aeronautical decision making] needs work, approaches need work."

The flight school specified that all 180-degree and straight-in autorotations be terminated with a power recovery throughout the private pilot training course. School policy stated that all landings and practice autorotations were to be performed to a hard-surfaced runway or taxiway. 

The flight school's written procedures for a straight-in autorotation with power recovery indicated that the maneuver should be initiated at an altitude of 700 feet agl after clearing the area for potential traffic conflicts and applying carburetor heat. Upon selecting a landing site, the autorotation was entered by lowering the collective to its full-down position, then rolling the throttle to the full idle position, where the procedure specified it should be held "firmly against the stop for the remainder of the autorotation." About 40 feet agl, the recovery was initiated by applying aft cyclic to bring the helicopter to a skids-level attitude, where it was held for 3 seconds prior to entering a flare. At that time, the throttle was "crack[ed] open" to allow the rpm governor to operate, forward cyclic applied, and the collective raised to bring the helicopter to a hover about 5 feet agl. The maneuver guide also stated, "Make an IMMEDIATE power recovery if the following conditions do not exist through 100' AGL: Aircraft aligned with touchdown point; Rotor RPM in the green; Airspeed within +/- 5 [knots] of 65 [knots]; Rate of descent <1,500 fpm". 

The manufacturer's Pilots Operating Handbook outlined the following procedure for a practice autorotation with a power recovery: "1. Adjust carb heat as required. 2. Lower collective to down stop and adjust throttle as required for small tachometer needle separation. CAUTION: To avoid inadvertent engine stoppage, do not chop throttle to simulate a power failure. Always roll throttle off smoothly for a small visible needle split. 3. Adjust collective to keep rotor RPM in green arc and adjust throttle for small needle separation. 4. Keep airspeed 60 to 70 KIAS. 5. At about 40 feet AGL, begin cyclic flare to reduce rate of descent and forward speed. 6. At about 8 feet AGL, apply forward cyclic to level aircraft and raise collective to control descent. Add throttle if required to keep RPM in green arc."

Robinson Helicopter Company Safety Notice SN-38, "Practice Autorotations Cause Many Training Accidents," stated, "There have been instances when the engine has quit during practice autorotation. To avoid inadvertent engine stoppage, do not roll throttle to full idle. Reduce throttle smoothly for a small visible needle split, then hold throttle firmly to override governor. Recover immediately if engine is rough or engine RPM continues to drop." 

Safety Notice SN-24, "Low RPM Rotor Stall Can Be Fatal," stated, "Rotor stall is very similar to the stall of an airplane wings at low airspeeds. As the airspeed of an airplane gets lower…the angle of attack of the wing must be higher for the wing to produce the lift required to support the weight of the airplane…The same thing happens during rotor stall with a helicopter except it occurs due to low rotor RPM instead of low airspeed. As the RPM of the rotor gets lower, the angle of attack of the rotor blades must be higher to generate the lift required to support the weight of the helicopter…Even if the collective is not raised by the pilot to provide the higher blade angle, the helicopter will start to descend until the upward movement of air to the rotor provides the necessary increase in blade angle of attack…The increased drag on the blades acts like a huge rotor brake causing the rotor RPM to rapidly decrease, further increasing the rotor stall. As the helicopter begins to fall, the upward rushing air continues to increase the angle of attack on the slowly-rotating blades, making recovery virtually impossible, even with full down collective."

FAA publication P-8740-71, "Planning Autorotations,"was intended to raise flight instructor awareness to the hazards of training students in autorotations and provide guidelines and parameters for conducting practice autorotations. The pamphlet concluded, "The number one error in practice autorotations is the failure of the flight instructor to take control of the aircraft and terminate the maneuver before it progresses to a point where the flight instructor is not capable of recovering the aircraft in time to prevent damage to the aircraft or injury to personnel. REMEMBER: As a flight instructor, you are the most knowledgeable and experienced person in that helicopter. Do not let your student fly the helicopter into some corner of its performance envelope where it is not recoverable."


Luis Aviles and Jonathan Desouza
~

LLB Enterprises Group Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N771MM

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA085
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 29, 2014 in Lake Worth, FL
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22 BETA, registration: N771MM
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 29, 2014, at 1025 eastern standard time, a Robinson R22 Beta, N771MM, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while performing an autorotation near Palm Beach County Park Airport (LNA), Lake Worth, Florida. The flight instructor (CFI) was fatally injured, and the student pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight, which departed about 0940. The flight was operated by Palm Beach Helicopters, Inc., and was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

A witness, who was a CFI, reported that he and a student were taxiing their airplane to runway 15 for takeoff when they heard the accident helicopter announce its position on a right base leg, with the intent to conduct an autorotation to taxiway Bravo. The CFI then offered to hold at the airplane's present position to allow the helicopter more room to conduct the maneuver. He stated that the helicopter pilot thanked him, and shortly thereafter, he observed the helicopter enter a "rapid descent typical of [autorotation]" from an altitude of between 800-1,000 feet above ground level (agl). About 500 feet agl, the helicopter appeared to level off, then pitched abruptly nose-down and descended to ground contact. Just prior to impact, he heard a panicked radio transmission from the helicopter that was mostly unintelligible. He also stated that, based on the accent he heard, he believed the CFI onboard the helicopter was conducting all radio transmissions.

Another CFI, who was taxiing a helicopter with a student on the south side of the airport, reported hearing the accident helicopter transmit, "we're going in the grass" over the airport's common traffic advisory frequency. Shortly thereafter, an airplane in the airport traffic pattern reported that there was a helicopter down, and the CFI in the helicopter flew to the accident site to render assistance. 

In a statement to law enforcement two days after the accident, the student pilot recounted that he and the CFI were practicing autorotations following a simulated engine failure. The student stated that he could not recall whether he or the CFI initiated the autorotation. About 100 feet above ground level, the CFI said, "We're going down, we're going down," and at that time, the CFI was controlling the helicopter. The student stated that, until that point, the autorotation had "appeared pretty normal," and he added, "I don't know if the engine cut off, or the engine didn't turn back on." 

In a subsequent interview, conducted about two weeks after the accident, the student stated that the flight was Lesson 2 in Stage 3 of the school's private pilot training course. He reported that he could not recall most of the accident flight, but recalled that prior to the accident, he and the CFI had been flying for approximately 40 minutes and had conducted 2 or 3 steep approaches as well as a maximum-performance takeoff. The accident autorotation was the first of the accident flight. He stated that he could not recall who initiated the autorotation or the rotor rpm indication during the maneuver. He remembered that the CFI was controlling the helicopter as it descended through about 100 feet above ground level, and as the CFI rolled on the throttle in an attempt to recover, there was no response from the engine. The CFI stated, "We're going down, we're going down." The student also stated that, on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, he observed the CFI using his cell phone and stated that he appeared to be conducting a video call, as he briefly saw someone on the phone's screen. He stated that the CFI turned the phone to face outside of the helicopter as if he was showing the view out the helicopter's windscreen to the individual on the phone. He could not recall when the CFI discontinued the use of the phone.

In a written statement provided after the interview, the student recalled that the CFI "asked for the controls," on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern prior to entering the autorotation. The student stated that he "handed over the controls and looked south out my door enjoying the view." The student then recalled looking at the ground "in a nose down attitude" as the helicopter descended, and seeing the CFI "fighting with the cyclic and collective." 

Surveillance video from a building near the accident site captured approximately the last 2 seconds of the flight before impact, and showed the helicopter descending rapidly at a steep angle. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION 

The CFI held commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates, both with ratings for rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument helicopter; as well as an airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate was issued in March 2014. Review of operator records revealed the CFI had about 397 total hours of flight experience, of which about 280 hours were in the accident helicopter make and model. He had accumulated about 121 hours of flight instruction given. 

The student held an FAA second-class medical and student pilot certificate, which was issued in December 2012. He reported about 37 total hours of flight time, all of which was in the accident helicopter make and model. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The helicopter was manufactured in 1996 and was equipped with one Lycoming O-360 series, 145 hp reciprocating engine. Review of maintenance records provided by the operator indicated that the helicopter's most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on December 1, 2014. At that time, the airframe had accumulated a total time of 4,162.9 hours, and the engine had accumulated 1,978.7 hours since its most recent overhaul. The helicopter's 2,200-hour inspection was completed on February 13, 2013 at a total airframe time of 2,184.2 hours. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION 

The 0953 automated weather observation at PBI recorded wind from 180 degrees at 7 knots, 10 miles visibility, scattered clouds at 2,100 ft, temperature 26 degrees C, dew point 22 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury. Review of a carburetor icing probability chart revealed the potential for serious carburetor icing at glide power. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The helicopter came to rest on its left side in a grassy area about 700 feet northwest of the runway 15 threshold at LNA. The wreckage path was oriented approximately 140 degrees magnetic, and extended about 75 feet from the initial impact point to where the fuselage came to rest. The initial impact point was identified as a large metal stake, about 3 feet in height. The second point of impact was a small crater measuring about 4 feet long and 1 foot deep, located about 15 feet past the initial impact point. A portion of the forward skid crosstube was located in the crater. The vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, and portion of the tail rotor came to rest next to the crater. The tail boom was separated from the fuselage, and fractured into several pieces, some of which displayed signatures consistent with main rotor blade contact. The skids separated from the fuselage and were fractured into several sections, which were located along the wreckage path. 

The fuselage exhibited downward crushing, and the cabin was fractured aft of the seat structures. Both the auxiliary and main fuel tanks were intact and contained fuel, and both fuel caps were secure. The fuel vent tubes were separated from the auxiliary tank by impact, which allowed fuel to drain from the tanks following the accident. 

The main rotor remained attached to the fuselage. One blade was bent up and displayed several chordwise creases along its span. The second blade was bent up about 45 degrees near its root. Neither blade displayed significant leading edge damage. The tail rotor drive shaft separated from the helicopter during the accident sequence, and a 5-foot portion was located about 500 feet west of the main wreckage. The aft portion of the tail rotor drive shaft was not recovered.

The helicopter was removed from the accident site and transported to a secure facility for further examination. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit area to the main rotor system. Tail rotor control continuity was established from the cockpit to the intermediate flex coupling. The main rotor gearbox rotated smoothly by hand with no anomalies observed. Examination of the v-belts, sheaves, and overrunning clutch also revealed no anomalies. Tail rotor drive continuity was established from the upper drive sheave to the intermediate flex coupling. The tail rotor gearbox rotated smoothly, with no anomalies noted. 

The engine remained attached to the airframe at its mount. The mixture control wire was impact-separated from the mixture control arm. The carburetor heat control was bent, and was in the off position. The carburetor air box was partially crushed, and the carburetor heat slider valve was in a mid-travel, partially open position. The carburetor remained attached to the engine, and the throttle control arm was observed about 1/8 inch from the full-throttle position. The exhaust system was partially crushed. The sparkplugs were removed and displayed normal wear characteristics. The engine was rotated by hand at the cooling fan, and thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders. Crankshaft continuity was established to the accessory gears. Oil was added to the engine to facilitate a test run, and when power was applied to the engine starter, the engine started, accelerated, and ran continuously for several minutes utilizing the fuel onboard. A magneto check was performed with no anomalies noted.

The engine was shut down, and the carburetor, oil filter, and oil suction screen were removed for examination. The carburetor float bowl contained blue liquid consistent with 100LL aviation fuel, and did not display any sign of contamination. There was no damage to the internal components of the carburetor, and the fuel inlet screen was absent of debris. 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the CFI by the Office of the District Medical Examiner, District 15, Palm Beach County, Florida. The cause of death was identified as blunt force injuries. Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Testing was negative for carbon monoxide, ethanol, and all tested-for drugs and their metabolites.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Cell Phone Information

The CFI's cell phone was retained for examination in the NTSB vehicle recorders laboratory; however, the device was passcode-protected and could not be unlocked. Usage records obtained from the cellular service provider could not conclusively determine whether the phone was in use at the time of the accident. 

Practice Autorotations

According to the pilot training syllabus provided by the flight school, the objective of Stage 3, Lesson 2 was for the student to practice advanced maneuvers and procedures, including normal and steep approach, normal and maximum performance takeoff, hovering, hover taxi, air taxi, ground reference maneuvers, emergency operations, autorotation to a power recovery, loss of tail rotor, stuck pedal, hovering out of ground effect, and confined area operation. 

Review of the student's training record indicated that he completed Stage 2 of the syllabus on December 23, 2014. Instructor notes for the previous flight, dated December 22, 2014, indicated, "gap in training is evident in proficiency, basic straight [and] level unsatisfactory, [aeronautical decision making] needs work, approaches need work."

The flight school specified that all 180-degree and straight-in autorotations be terminated with a power recovery throughout the private pilot training course. School policy also stated that landings and autorotations at LNA were performed to the runways or to the grassy areas next to runways 15/33 and 09/27. 

The flight school's written procedures for a straight-in autorotation with power recovery indicated that the maneuver should be initiated at an altitude of 700 feet agl after clearing the area for potential traffic conflicts and applying carburetor heat. Upon selecting a landing site, the autorotation was entered by rolling the throttle to the full idle position, where the procedure specified it should be held "firmly against the stop for the remainder of the autorotation." About 40 feet agl, the recovery was initiated by applying aft cyclic to bring the helicopter to a skids-level attitude, where it was held for 3 seconds prior to entering a flare. At that time, the throttle was "crack[ed] open" to allow the rpm governor to operate, forward cyclic applied, and the collective raised to bring the helicopter to a hover about 5 feet agl. The maneuver guide also stated, "Make an IMMEDIATE power recovery if the following conditions do not exist through 100' AGL: Aircraft aligned with touchdown point; Rotor RPM in the green; Airspeed within +/- 5 [knots] of 65 [knots]; Rate of descent <1,500 fpm". 

The manufacturer's Pilots Operating Handbook outlined the following procedure for a practice autorotation with a power recovery: "1. Adjust carb heat as required. 2. Lower collective to down stop and adjust throttle as required for small tachometer needle separation. CAUTION: To avoid inadvertent engine stoppage, do not chop throttle to simulate a power failure. Always roll throttle off smoothly for a small visible needle split. 3. Adjust collective to keep rotor RPM in green arc and adjust throttle for small needle separation. 4. Keep airspeed 60 to 70 KIAS. 5. At about 40 feet AGL, begin cyclic flare to reduce rate of descent and forward speed. 6. At about 8 feet AGL, apply forward cyclic to level aircraft and raise collective to control descent. Add throttle if required to keep RPM in green arc."

Robinson Helicopter Company Safety Notice SN-38, "Practice Autorotations Cause Many Training Accidents," stated, "There have been instances when the engine has quit during practice autorotation. To avoid inadvertent engine stoppage, do not roll throttle to full idle. Reduce throttle smoothly for a small visible needle split, then hold throttle firmly to override governor. Recover immediately if engine is rough or engine RPM continues to drop." 

Safety Notice SN-24, "Low RPM Rotor Stall Can Be Fatal," stated, "Rotor stall is very similar to the stall of an airplane wings at low airspeeds. As the airspeed of an airplane gets lower…the angle of attack of the wing must be higher for the wing to produce the lift required to support the weight of the airplane…The same thing happens during rotor stall with a helicopter except it occurs due to low rotor RPM instead of low airspeed. As the RPM of the rotor gets lower, the angle of attack of the rotor blades must be higher to generate the lift required to support the weight of the helicopter…Even if the collective is not raised by the pilot to provide the higher blade angle, the helicopter will start to descend until the upward movement of air to the rotor provides the necessary increase in blade angle of attack…The increased drag on the blades acts like a huge rotor brake causing the rotor RPM to rapidly decrease, further increasing the rotor stall. As the helicopter begins to fall, the upward rushing air continues to increase the angle of attack on the slowly-rotating blades, making recovery virtually impossible, even with full down collective."

FAA publication P-8740-71, "Planning Autorotations,"was intended to raise flight instructor awareness to the hazards of training students in autorotations and provide guidelines and parameters for conducting practice autorotations. The pamphlet concluded, "The number one error in practice autorotations is the failure of the flight instructor to take control of the aircraft and terminate the maneuver before it progresses to a point where the flight instructor is not capable of recovering the aircraft in time to prevent damage to the aircraft or injury to personnel. REMEMBER: As a flight instructor, you are the most knowledgeable and experienced person in that helicopter. Do not let your student fly the helicopter into some corner of its performance envelope where it is not recoverable."









NTSB Identification: ERA15FA085
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 29, 2014 in Lake Worth, FL
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22 BETA, registration: N771MM
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may cont
ain 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 December 29, 2014, at 1025 eastern standard time, a Robinson R22 Beta, N771MM, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while maneuvering for landing at Palm Beach County Park Airport (LNA), Lake Worth, Florida. The certificated flight instructor (CFI) was fatally injured, and the student pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight, which departed about 0940. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

In a statement to law enforcement, the student pilot recounted that he and the CFI were practicing emergency procedures following a simulated engine failure. The student pilot said that he entered an autorotation after the throttle was reduced to idle, and the helicopter was in an autorotational descent when the accident occurred. He could not completely recall the sequence of events leading up to the accident, but stated that as the helicopter descended through 100 feet, he remembered the CFI saying, "we're going down." 

Another CFI, who was taxiing a helicopter with a student on the south side of LNA, reported hearing the accident helicopter transmit, "we're going in the grass" over the airport's common traffic advisory frequency. Shortly thereafter, an airplane in the airport traffic pattern reported that there was a helicopter down, and the CFI flew to the accident site to render assistance. 

The helicopter came to rest on its left side in a grassy area about 700 feet northwest of the runway 15 threshold at LNA. The wreckage path was oriented approximately 140 degrees magnetic, and extended about 75 feet from the initial impact point to where the fuselage came to rest. The initial impact point was identified as a large metal stake, about 3 feet in height. The second point of impact was a small crater measuring about 4 feet long and 1 foot deep, located about 15 feet past the initial impact point. A portion of the forward skid crosstube was located in the crater. The vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, and portion of the tail rotor came to rest next to the crater. The tail boom was separated from the fuselage, and fractured into several pieces, some of which displayed signatures consistent with main rotor blade contact. The skids separated from the fuselage and were fractured into several sections, which were located along the wreckage path. 

The fuselage exhibited downward crushing, and the cabin was fractured aft of the seat structures. Both the auxiliary and main fuel tanks were intact and contained fuel, and both fuel caps were secure. The fuel vent tubes were separated from the auxiliary tank by impact, which allowed fuel to drain from the tanks following the accident. 

The main rotor remained attached to the fuselage. One blade was bent up and displayed several chordwise creases along its span. The second blade was bent up about 45 degrees near its root. Neither blade displayed significant leading edge damage. The tail rotor drive shaft separated from the helicopter during the accident sequence, and a 5-foot portion was located about 500 feet west of the main wreckage. The aft portion of the tail rotor drive shaft was not recovered.

The helicopter was removed from the accident site and transported to a salvage facility for further examination. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit area to the main rotor system. Tail rotor control continuity was established from the cockpit to the intermediate flex coupling. The main rotor gearbox rotated smoothly by hand with no anomalies observed. Examination of the v-belts, sheaves, and overrunning clutch also revealed no anomalies. 

Tail rotor drive continuity was established from the upper drive sheave to the intermediate flex coupling. The tail rotor gearbox rotated smoothly, with no anomalies noted. Power was applied to the engine starter, and utilizing the fuel onboard, the engine started, accelerated smoothly, and ran continuously for several minutes with no anomalies noted.