Friday, October 14, 2016

Klapmeier-led aviation company in line to get Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board loan

Alan Klapmeier, then president and CEO of Kestrel Aircraft, stands in March 2013 with a mockup of the aircraft in a hangar at the Bong Airport in Superior. 


A fledgling aircraft parts manufacturing company promising to establish a facility at the Grand Rapids airport is in line for a $1.5 million loan from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.

IRRRB staff members have asked the agency’s board to approve the loan to Albuquerque, N.M.-based ACC Manufacturing Inc., which makes composite parts for its parent company, One Aviation.

The board, which will meet Monday in Eveleth, also is being asked to approve another $293,000 to the Grand Rapids Economic Development Authority for improvements at the ACC site.

The money will buy an existing hangar at the airport to house about 20 employees of ACC, said state Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township, who is IRRRB board chairman.

The company eventually would relocate to a larger facility at the airport as part of a $9 million project.

One Aviation is the parent company producing the Eclipse jet and also hoping to produce the Kestrel turboprop aircraft. It’s headed by Alan Klapmeier, the former Duluth aviation executive who co-founded Cirrus Aircraft.

“We’re hoping this will be Phase One of a much larger project that will lead to the manufacture of the entire airplane in Grand Rapids,” Anzelc said.

The parts made in Grand Rapids would be used in the Eclipse jet, which is already in production in New Mexico, said Mark Phillips, IRRRB director. But Phillips agreed that the long-term goal is to see One Aviation build its Kestrel plant at Grand Rapids as well.

“This is a specific, standalone deal to supply the Eclipse,” Phillips said. “No one is hiding the fact we’d like to someday see them build the Kestrel on the Iron Range. But this project isn’t tied to that.”

Klapmeier originally planned to build the Kestrel in Brunswick, Maine, where the company now has a parts facility. The company then joined with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2012 to announce the Kestrel would be built in Superior. State and local agencies pledged some $100 million in loans, grants, tax breaks and tax credits. The company said it would create up to 600 jobs at the plant in Superior’s industrial park, with Walker celebrating the project as part of his effort to create jobs in the state.

But Klapmeier said that while Kestrel remains based in Superior, the state of Wisconsin never came through with the package of incentives promised and has muddied the project for more than four years.

“Superior has been great to work with. It’s still a great community for this project. There is still some hope it could happen in Wisconsin. It’s a small possibility it could still be Superior. But the state just hasn't been there for us,” Klapmeier told the News Tribune on Thursday.

State officials, for their part, told Wisconsin Public Radio last year that Kestrel faced challenges raising money and meeting requirements to receive financing under federal programs.

The company has about 25 employees in Superior. The company also had been using some leased warehouse space from Bent Paddle Brewing Co. in Duluth but recently lost that space.

“It’s that work and some additional work that’s moving to Grand Rapids. We lost our lease and had to find more space,” Klapmeier said.

Until now, many of the composite parts for the Eclipse have been made by subcontractors in far-flung locations. Klapmeier said he wants to bring that work into the company and into the Northland.

“I think it’s better business sense for us to make our own composite parts. And I think northern Minnesota is the right place for workforce compatibility, workforce productivity. ... We know Minnesota. This is where we live,” said Klapmeier, who has a home outside Cloquet and a cabin outside Iron River.

Klapmeier said he wants to have private financing lined up for Kestrel before deciding on a location for the plane’s production plant. In the meantime, he said One Aviation is focused on bringing Eclipse and a second-generation Eclipse jet to full production and market before refocusing on Kestrel.

Anzelc said the Grand Rapids project has been well-vetted, noting Klapmeier began meeting with Iron Range officials more than a year ago at the Capitol in St. Paul.

“It’s a very complex project. It’s not fully an IRRRB deal. Grand Rapids is taking the lead and we are essentially helping them out. We’re a partner. There will be other partners,” Anzelc said. “This has been a slow, deliberate process. It’s been a long time unfolding.”

In addition to Klapmeier as CEO, One Aviation lists Ken Ross as president, Ed Underwood as CFO and Steve Serfling, a Deer River native, as executive vice president.

The Eclipse 500 is a small six-seat business jet in the works since the mid-2000s. The Albuquerque-based company started fast but entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008 and was liquidated in 2009 before being reformed as Eclipse Aerospace, which merged with Klapmeier’s Kestrel Aircraft to form One Aviation in April 2015.

The Kestrel 350 is an all-composite, single-engine turboprop aircraft in the works for several years. It is planned to carry up to eight people at high speed over long distances and designed to be “far more versatile” than jet aircraft, and “burn less fuel, and be able to maintain approach speeds at large busy airports yet land on short, grass or gravel strips,” according to the company’s website.

The Kestrel plane doesn't yet have Federal Aviation Administration certification to begin production or sales.

Klapmeier has had an ongoing feud with Duluth-based Cirrus, which he co-founded with his brother, Dale, since leaving the company in 2009; a legal dispute about expenses stemming from a lawsuit filed against Cirrus and initially won by Klapmeier — but then overturned on appeal — is now being decided by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Source:  http://www.superiortelegram.com

Records: Iowa State University president got plane ride to Des Moines airport

AMES, Iowa —Iowa State University President Steven Leath was flown in a school airplane to the Des Moines airport at least once to catch a commercial flight.

Records show university pilots flew Leath and his wife from Ames to Des Moines on Feb. 17. The 84-mile roundtrip was billed to private donations for $380.

University officials claimed the 18-minute flight for the Leaths didn't cost extra because the plane was already going to Des Moines for maintenance.

However, ISU flight services manager Dave Hurst said the work wasn't performed that day because Elliott Aviation didn't have the equipment or personnel available.

Still, he said the record was incorrect and the trip shouldn't have been billed as a passenger flight even though the Leaths were aboard. They flew commercial to visit a donor.

Iowa State University has compiled a list of 25 commonly asked questions regarding the plane controversy. The list of questions and answers can be found here.

Source:  http://www.kcci.com

Incident occurred October 07, 2016 at Niagara Central Dorothy Rungeling Airport (CNQ3), Welland, Ontario



Damages to two aircraft that collided last Thursday at the Dorothy Rungeling Airport in Welland could approach $1 million, according to a federal investigator.

“We are trying to get to the bottom of why exactly that happened,” said Peter Rowntree, a senior regional investigator with the Transportation and Safety Board of Canada.

“We have the radio out of one of the aircraft and we are going to have it tested to see if it is working properly and see where we are going from there,” Rowntree said.

Rowntree estimated damage to one of the planes, a Pilatus PC-12, could be between $500,000 and $1 million. He said the second plane, an ultralight, is a write-off.

On Oct. 6 two planes collided while taxiing. The pilot of the ultralight plane was taken to hospital with minor injuries. The pilot and four passengers of the second plane were not hurt.

The Transportation Safety Board isn’t conducting a full investigation, but are looking into why the crash occurred. Rowntree said once they know what the cause is, investigators will decide if there is need for a more in-depth investigation for safety purposes.

The Dorothy Rungeling Airport is considered an uncontrolled airport, so all communication over the radio is not recorded. Rowntree said they wont be able to check if the landing and take off were communicated via the radio before the crash occurred.

“There is no tower there, they are on a unicom, so basically everyone should be on the same frequency when they are at the airport. It is their responsibility to know what they are doing and what their intent is.”

He said investigators are asking for people who were listening to the airport frequency at about 2 p.m. last Thursday to come forward with information. Witnesses can call the airport at (905) 714-1000.

Rowntree said it’s hard to predict how long the investigation will take.

If one of the pilots is found to be at fault, Rowntree said the Transportation Safety Board does not take disciplinary action. The Transportation Safety Board doesn’t determine any civil or criminal liability. Rowntree said they focus on how to better safety procedures and ensure better safety practices in the future.

“It would be up to transport Canada that if they were interested in this occurrence it would be up to them to investigate the circumstances of the accident,” Rowntree said about whether there could be a police investigation.

Source:  http://www.wellandtribune.ca

Cessna 172R Skyhawk, Barbers Flight School LLC, N429ES: Accident occurred October 05, 2016 at John Rodgers Field (PHJR), Kapolei, Hawaii

BARBERS POINT FLIGHT SCHOOL LLC:   http://registry.faa.gov/N429ES

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Honolulu FSDO-13

Aviation Accident Final Report  -  National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Factual Report  -  National Transportation Safety Board:  http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA025
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 05, 2016 in Kapolei, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/18/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N429ES
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 reported that during the landing flare he pitched up “higher than what is normal” and the airplane bounced three times during the touchdown. The pilot further reported that he was able to taxi the airplane to the ramp, but he noticed the nose wheel was flat.

During a 100-hour maintenance inspection conducted a week later, it was revealed that the firewall sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

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

The pilot’s use of an excessive pitch attitude during the landing flare, which resulted in a bounced landing.

Cessna 210-5 (205), Wings Over The Wasatch, N1809Z: Incidents occurred October 13, 2016 (and) May 14, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah

WINGS OVER THE WASATCH:   http://registry.faa.gov/N1809Z

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Salt Lake City FSDO-07

AIRCRAFT ON LANDING, WINGTIP AND PROP STRUCK THE RUNWAY, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH.

Date: 13-OCT-16
Time: 16:57:00Z
Regis#: N1809Z
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 210
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: SALT LAKE CITY
State: Utah

AIRCRAFT ON LANDING STRUCK THE PROP AND WING, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Salt Lake City FSDO-07


Date: 14-MAY-16
Time: 20:00:00Z
Regis#: N1809Z
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 205
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: SALT LAKE CITY
State: Utah

Piper PA-18A Super Cub, N2791P: Incident occurred October 13, 2016 in Knik Glacier, Alaska and accident occurred December 21, 2015 in Girdwood, Alaska

http://registry.faa.gov/N2791P 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03

AIRCRAFT ON TAXI, FLIPPED OVER, PICNIC STRIP, KNIK GLACIER, ALASKA

Date: 14-OCT-16
Time: 00:45:00Z
Regis#: N2791P
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA18
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: Minor
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
City: KNIK GLACIER
State: Alaska

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA102
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 21, 2015 in Girdwood, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/05/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA 18A, registration: N2791P
Injuries: 2 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.

According to the pilot, the airplane departed the runway and climbed to 3000 feet above ground level. She reported that while maneuvering, the airplane lost engine power. After several attempts to restart the engine, the pilot made a forced landing on a highway bridge. She reported that during the landing roll, the airplane's right wing struck a sign that was affixed to the bridge. 

According to the pilot, at the time of the accident, there were twenty gallons of fuel on board the airplane. She reported that the airframe and power plant mechanic removed approximately two cups of water from the fuel tanks after the accident in preparation for the airplane's recovery. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing spar and aileron.

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

Fuel contamination resulting in the loss of engine power, a forced landing on a highway, and subsequent right wing impact with highway signage.

Out with the Old; Martha's Vineyard Airport Celebrates Rescue Building Demolition

Airport manager Ann Crook takes a whack at World War II-era rescue building. 


Demolition will make way for new $10.5 million to house fire trucks, rescue equipment, and office. 

Airport commission chairman Myron Garfinkle. 


Swinging gold sledge hammers, members of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission took a symbolic whack at the airport rescue and fire fighting building Friday morning, marking the beginning of construction to replace the World War II-era structure.

A few moments later, an excavator moved in to start the job in earnest. The demolition makes way for a new building that will house fire trucks and snow removal equipment, offices, and staff quarters.

Commission vice-chairman Robert Rosenbaum said when he was appointed in 2015, he was “horrified” at the status of the project four years after the Federal Aviation Administration awarded a grant to replace the building.

“It was 30 per cent complete and the cost was twice the allotted budget,” Mr. Rosenbaum recalled. He said FAA administrators were also angry when they learned the status. “The project was within a hair’s breadth of being cancelled entirely.”

The project is now back on track, with a project cost of $10.5 million. The FAA has committed $7.4 million for the building, which is required under federal law.

The airport has set aside $1.6 million of its own funds for design and construction, and is working to find state or other sources of funding for the remaining $1.5 million to complete the project.

The new building is scheduled to be reviewed next month by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission as a development of regional impact.

The Island’s only commercial airport is expecting modest growth in the coming years, according to an airport master plan discussed at the commission’s monthly meeting on Thursday. Members reviewed a summary of the plan, which includes growth projections, capital improvements, and an extensive assessment of airport buildings and equipment.

Projections call for an increase of about 2,000 airport operations (defined as a landing or takeoff) by 2034. In 2014, the airport recorded approximately 42,000 operations.

The number of aircraft based at the airport is expected to increase from 77 in 2014 to 112 in 2034.

The airport master plant conflicts with FAA projections, which predict no substantial growth over the next 20 years, according to the consultant who presented the plan summary.

The plan lists capital improvements at a cost of $27.1 million over the next 18 years. The commission expects $24.8 million of that cost to be funded by the FAA, with $1.4 million contributed by the airport, and the rest from state funds and other sources.

Among the projects slated for 2017 are painting new taxiway lines and reconstructing runway shoulders. In 2018, the runways are slated for reconstruction and repaving.

Some of the projects may not be funded as needs evolve over the next two decades, but they must be listed in the master plan in order to be eligible for FAA grants, according to airport manager Ann Crook.

Source:   https://vineyardgazette.com

Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II, Westmoreland Aviation, N9097U: Accident occurred October 14, 2016 at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (KLBE), Latrobe, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

Westmoreland Aviation Holding Co., Inc:  http://registry.faa.gov/N9097U

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Allegheny, Pennsylvania


Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Docket And Docket Items -   National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA026
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 14, 2016 in Latrobe, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/13/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28, registration: N9097U
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 reported that, while on right downwind and after being cleared for a touch-and-go landing, the tower controller instructed him to make a short approach. The pilot further reported that, during approach, the airplane was to the left of the runway, so he attempted to correct to the right, and “believe[s] that…[he] had applied full right rudder.” Subsequently, the right wing impacted the ground and the airplane cart-wheeled. The right wing separated from the fuselage. 

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

The pilot reported as a safety recommendation that the accident could have been prevented if he had executed a go-around. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s unstabilized approach, which resulted in the airplane’s wing striking the ground while the pilot was maneuvering to realign with the runway.

The pilot reported that while on right downwind and after being cleared for a touch-and-go landing, the tower instructed him to make a short approach. The pilot further reported that during approach the airplane was to the left of the runway, he attempted to correct to the right, and "believe ['s] that I[he] had applied full right rudder." Subsequently the right wing impacted the ground and the airplane cart-wheeled. The right wing separated from the fuselage.

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

The pilot reported as a safety recommendation that the accident could have been prevented if he had executed a go-around.

Doug Splitstone was injured when his plane crashed at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.





A pilot was injured Friday morning when the single-engine plane he was flying crashed on landing at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, according to Gabe Monzo, executive director of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority.

The 10:30 a.m. crash during a routine flight tore away one wing of the small aircraft flown by Doug Splitstone, Monzo said. The pilot's address was not available.

Splitstone is expected to fully recover from a head laceration, according to a statement from Westmoreland Aviation, which owns the plane that Splitstone was flying. He was taken to UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh for evaluation; a hospital spokeswoman said he was not a patient there Friday afternoon.

Splitstone is a certified private pilot with significant experience and a good safety record who regularly flies out of the Unity airport, the co-owners of Westmoreland Aviation, J.T. Spangler and David Castaldo, said in the statement. He is a member of the Aviators Flying Club, Spangler said.

“We don't know yet exactly what happened, but we are cooperating fully with the (Federal Aviation Administration) and (National Transportation Safety Board) as they investigate,” the owners said in the statement.

The Piper Warrior, which is available for use by club members, was severely damaged when it landed in the airport's infield between the runway and the taxiway, Monzo said. The wreckage was cleared in about 90 minutes and the airstrip reopened just before noon, he said.

Regular training helped with the quick turnaround to get the airport running again, Monzo said. An incoming Spirit Airlines flight was diverted to Cleveland but landed at the Westmoreland County airport at about 1 p.m., he said.

“We train with the local fire departments ... about how to handle situations like that,” Monzo said. “The guys are fantastic, they do a wonderful job.”

Airport fire Chief Moe Haas said training preparations served them well.

“The response went good. All our outside agencies work well together,” he said.

Every three years, they are required to perform a disaster drill to test the area's emergency response. The next drill is scheduled in May, Haas said.

Westmoreland Aviation is a club and flight school operated by Westmoreland Aviation Holding Co. of Murrysville. After an increase in demand for flight instruction since the group took over the business from Fly Wright Center in 2009, the company purchased the hangar space it had been leasing and expanded into another building.

Source:   http://triblive.com



LATROBE (KDKA) – One man was injured when a small plane crashed at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport Friday morning.

According to emergency dispatchers, a Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II plane crashed shortly after 10:30 a.m.

Doug Splitstone was the only person on board at the time of the crash. They were flown to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, but their condition is unknown. However, his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

According to the FAA, Splitstone was doing practice maneuvers when the plane rolled off the runway and flipped.  As a result, one of the plane’s wings was torn off.

The plane is owned by Westmoreland Aviation Holding Company.

So far, one Spirit Airlines flight has been diverted to Cleveland.

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


UNITY TOWNSHIP, Pa. —The pilot of a small plane was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital after crashing at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport on Friday morning.

Doug Splitstone was the only person aboard the Piper Warrior when it crashed at about 10:30 a.m., said Gabe Monzo, executive director of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority. Splitstone was talking and alert after the crash.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters said the plane was doing practice maneuvers when it flipped over into a grassy infield.

Splitstone is a member of the Westmoreland Aviation flying club. His son, who also flies, said Splitstone has had a pilot's license for years.

"He does like to fly. I knew that. He, on occasion, he requests that I go up with him. I never do because I'm nervous about one-engine aircrafts," neighbor Bob Gaydos said. "I'm glad to hear he's in reasonably good shape, we think."

Splitstone's son said that initial tests showed no damage to his father's organs, but that they were awaiting more information.

A Spirit Airlines flight bound for Latrobe was diverted to Cleveland because of the accident.

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



LATROBE, Pa. - One person was injured when a small plane crashed Friday morning at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport near Latrobe.

Emergency officials told Channel 11 News that the single-engine Piper Cherokee, owned by Westmoreland Aviation, crashed as it was landing at about 10:30 a.m.

Officials said the pilot, Doug Splitstone, suffered moderate injuries. Splitstone was taken by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital, said Gabe Munzo, a spokesperson with the airport. He was the only person on board, and officials said he was alert and conscious as he was flown to the hospital. 

The cause of the crash was not known as of Friday afternoon, but officials said weather is not believed to have been a factor. Airport officials said pretty much anything could have caused the crash. 

"All kinds of things could happen. You try to prepare for anything," Munzo said. 

Officials said Splitstone, of Murrysville, has been a pilot for six years and is part of Westmoreland Aviation.  He is a pilot who is recognized highly by the FAA, which means he met or exceeded the high educational and licensing standards established by the administration.

The front of the plane was heavily damaged, as was the landing gear, and the right wing fell off during the crash. 

One Spirit Airlines flight was diverted to Cleveland as a result of the crash. The airport reopened shortly before noon.

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

Cirrus SR22, N122ES, Graeves Auto & Appliance Inc. (and) Robinson R44 Raven II, N7518Q, Advanced Helicopter Concepts, Inc: Accident occurred October 23, 2014 near Frederick Municipal Airport (KFDK), Maryland

Wrongful death trial in fatal midair collision scheduled for March, 2017

Relatives of a helicopter instructor and passenger killed in a 2014 midair collision at Frederick Municipal Airport are poised to take a wrongful death suit to court next year.

Christopher Parsons, of Westminster, was working as a flight instructor with Advanced Helicopter Concepts on Oct. 23, 2014, when a Cirrus plane collided with his helicopter, killing him and his passengers, Breandan MacFawn, of Cumberland, and William Jenkins, of Colorado.

Parsons’ widow, Ashlee Renae Parsons, and his parents, Nancy and Keith Parsons, are suing the contractors that operate the air traffic control tower, Midwest Air Traffic Control Service, and the pilot of the plane involved in the crash with the helicopter, Scott Vincent Graeves.

Jenkins’ widow, Noelle Jenkins, is also a plaintiff in the suit.

A two-week civil trial is scheduled to begin March 27.

The plaintiffs accused Midwest Air Traffic Control Service and Graeves of negligence resulting in wrongful death and requested a judgment of more than $75,000.

The suit contends that air traffic controllers, knowing of the plane’s approach, failed to alert Graeves to the helicopter’s position or let Parsons know about the plane’s descent.

The controller told Graeves there were three helicopters below him in the traffic pattern, according to the complaint. The pilot responded that he could see only two of them. Despite that, the controller cleared him to land and he began to descend.

The traffic control services and the pilot both denied acting negligently.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s final report on its investigation into the crash concluded that — based on a transmission sent from the air traffic control tower advising of traffic during the single-engine Cirrus SR22 airplane’s approach to the landing zone — each pilot “was or should have been aware of the other” and “should have had the situational awareness to understand the conflict potential.”

The report, known as the probable cause report, is not admissible as evidence. Federal law prevents the reports from being used in lawsuits in to keep the investigation process from being affected by concerns that it may be used in court.

Midwest Air Traffic Control Services filed a complaint on Nov. 24 against Advanced Helicopter Concepts, saying that the company was primarily responsible for the fatal crash. The helicopter flight school denied that charge.

Three weeks later, Graeves filed a cross-claim against Midwest Air Traffic Control Service and Advance Helicopter Concepts, alleging that the helicopter pilot and air traffic controllers were responsible for the crash.

Gregory S. Winton, an attorney for the relatives of MacFawn, said he filed a suit on behalf of the passenger’s survivors and that it had been resolved. He did not disclose the amount of the settlement.

Winton also filed a claim with the Federal Aviation Administration, he said. If the claim is denied, that could pave the way for a suit against the federal government.

Source: http://www.fredericknewspost.com

 
Christopher David "Chris" Parsons

 
William Jenkins

Breandan James MacFawn

Chris Parsons

 
Officials say Scott Graeves, 55, of Brookeville, was piloting the Cirrus SR22  that crashed.

  



Brian Rayner, senior air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Brian Rayner, senior air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

 Brian Rayner
Senior air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.
















































 


















































Tower communications (graphic audio, may be disturbing) 

Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office: FAA Baltimore FSDO-07

http://registry.faa.gov/N122ES

http://registry.faa.gov/N7518Q

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA025A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 23, 2014 in Frederick, MD
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N122ES
Injuries: 3 Fatal, 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured.

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA025B 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 23, 2014 in Frederick, MD
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N7518Q
Injuries: 3 Fatal, 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured.

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.

The private airplane pilot was conducting a personal cross-country flight, and the commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor were conducting a local instructional flight. A review of radar and voice communications revealed that the accident airplane pilot first contacted the nonradar-equipped tower when the airplane was 10 miles from the airport and that the local controller (LC) then acknowledged the pilot’s transmission and instructed him to contact the tower when he was 3 miles from the airport. At this time, the LC was also handling two helicopters in the traffic pattern, one airplane conducting practice instrument approaches to a runway that intersected the runway assigned to the accident airplane, another airplane inbound from the southeast, and a business jet with its instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance on request. About 1 minute after the accident airplane pilot first contacted the LC, the LC began handling the accident helicopter and cleared it for takeoff. One minute later, the controller issued the business jet pilot an IFR clearance. When the accident airplane was 3 miles from the airport, the pilot reported the airplane’s position to the controller, but the controller missed the call because she was preoccupied with the clearance read-back from the business jet pilot. About 1 minute later, the controller instructed the accident airplane pilot to enter the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern on a 45-degree angle and issued a landing clearance. She advised that there were three helicopters “below” the airplane in the traffic pattern, and the pilot replied that he had two of the helicopters in sight. Data downloaded from the airplane and witnesses on the ground and in the air indicated that, as the airplane entered the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, it flew through the accident helicopter’s rotor system at the approximate point where the helicopter would have turned left from the crosswind to the downwind leg. Because of a specific advisory transmitted on the tower radio frequency advising of traffic on the downwind, the pilot of each accident aircraft was or should have been aware of the other. A witness in the helicopter directly behind the accident helicopter had a similar field of view as the accident helicopter, and he reported that he acquired both accident aircraft in his scan before the collision. Given this statement and that the accident helicopter had two commercial pilots in the cockpit, the pilots should have had the situational awareness to understand the conflict potential based on the airplane’s position reports. Although the airplane was equipped with a traffic advisory system, its capabilities could have been limited by antenna/airframe obstruction or an inhibition of the audio alert by the airplane’s flap position.

The airplane’s data indicated that the collision occurred at an altitude of about 1,100 ft mean sea level (msl). The published traffic pattern altitude (TPA) for light airplanes was 1,300 ft msl. Although several different helicopter TPAs were depicted in locally produced pamphlets and posters and reportedly discussed at various airport meetings, there was no published TPA for helicopters in the airport/facility directory or in the tower’s standard operating procedures. According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aeronautical Information Manual, in the absence of a published TPA, the TPA for helicopters was 500 ft above ground level; therefore, the appropriate TPA for helicopters at the accident airport was about 800 ft msl. The lack of an official helicopter TPA, which was published after the accident, significantly reduced the potential for positive traffic conflict resolution. Review of the airport procedures, tower capabilities, and the controller’s actions revealed no specific departure from proper procedures. Because the tower was not equipped with radar equipment, all of the sequencing and obtaining of traffic information had to be done visually. This would have been especially difficult at the accident airport due to the local terrain and tree lines that extend above the pattern altitudes from the tower controllers’ view, which can cause aircraft to easily blend in with the background. Further, the controller spent a lengthy amount of time on the task of issuing the IFR clearance to the business jet while handling multiple aircraft in the traffic pattern. It is likely that the lack of radar equipment in the tower and the controller’s inadequate task management also significantly reduced the potential for positive traffic conflict resolution.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The failure of the helicopter pilots and the airplane pilot to maintain an adequate visual lookout for known traffic in the traffic pattern, which resulted in a midair collision. Contributing to the accident were the airplane pilot's descent below the published airplane traffic pattern altitude (TPA) and the helicopter pilot’s climb above the proper helicopter TPA as prescribed in the Federal Aviation Administration's Aeronautical Information Manual for airports without published helicopter TPAs. Also contributing to the accident were the lack of a published helicopter TPA, the absence of radar equipment in the tower, and the controller’s inadequate task prioritization.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 23, 2014, about 1537 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR22 airplane, N122ES, operated by a private individual, and a Robinson R44 II helicopter, N7518Q, operated by Advanced Helicopter Concepts, collided in midair approximately 1 mile southwest of the Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK), Frederick, Maryland. The airplane departed controlled flight after the collision, the ballistic parachute system was deployed, and the airplane landed nose-down in a thicket of low trees and brush. The helicopter also departed controlled flight, descended vertically, and was destroyed by impact forces at ground contact. The private pilot on board the airplane was not injured, and his passenger sustained a minor injury. The flight instructor, commercial pilot, and a passenger in the helicopter were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the airplane, which departed Cleveland, Tennessee, on a personal flight about 1247. No flight plan was filed for the helicopter, which departed FDK on an instructional flight about 1535. The flights were conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

Witnesses on the ground watched the aircraft approach each other at the same altitude and saw the collision. One witness said the helicopter appeared to be in a stationary hover as the airplane closed on it and the two collided. She said neither aircraft changed altitude as they approached each other.

A flight instructor for the helicopter operator in a company Robinson R22 helicopter followed the accident helicopter in the traffic pattern for landing abeam runway 30 in the infield sod at FDK. He said his helicopter had just completed the turn onto the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern when the accident helicopter came into his view to his front at about the point where it would turn to the downwind leg of the pattern. At the same time, the airplane appeared in his field of view as it "flew through the rotor system" of the helicopter.

Radar and voice communication information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as well as interviews conducted with air traffic controllers, revealed the following:

At 1534:10, the accident airplane first contacted the FDK tower and was about 10 miles west of the field at 3,000 feet. The local controller (LC) acknowledged the pilot's transmission and instructed him to report 3 miles west for a left downwind to runway 30. At 1534:31, the pilot of the accident airplane acknowledged and read back the controller's instructions.

At the time the accident airplane contacted the LC, other traffic being handled by the tower included two helicopters ( two company helicopters N2342U and N444PH) in the VFR traffic pattern, one airplane conducting practice instrument approaches to runway 23, another airplane inbound from the southeast, and a business jet (N612JD) with its IFR clearance on request.

At 1535:02, the LC then cleared the accident helicopter for take-off from alpha taxiway as requested and issued the current winds, and the call was acknowledged.

At 1536:02, the LC contacted the pilot of N612JD and advised she was ready to issue the airplane's instrument clearance. From 1536:06 to 1536:49 (43 seconds), the controller issued the clearance.

At 1536:49, the pilot of N612JD read back his clearance as required. Also at 1536:49, during the read back from N612JD, the pilot of the accident airplane reported on local frequency that he was 3 miles out on a 45-degree entry for runway 30, which the LC did not hear because she was listening to the read back from N612JD on ground control frequency.

At 1537:09, the LC transmitted to helicopter N444PH, "…four papa hotel option to the grass at your own risk use caution and on uh next go around stay at a thousand feet. I have traffic in the downwind."

At 1537:22, the LC instructed the accident airplane to report midfield left downwind for runway 30 and said "I have three helicopters below ya in the uh traffic pattern". At 1537:30, the pilot of the accident airplane acknowledged the request to report midfield downwind and stated he had two of the helicopters in sight. Immediately after that transmission, at 1537:34, the LC said "Alright uh two echo sierra, I have ya in sight runway three zero, maintain your altitude to…until turning base, cleared to land."

At 1537:41, cries were heard over the local frequency, and, at 1537:49, the pilot of a helicopter in the traffic pattern reported that an airplane and helicopter were both "down."

The pilot of the accident airplane was interviewed and provided written statements. His recollection of the flight was consistent with voice, radar, and aircraft data. The pilot stated that as he descended and slowed for the traffic pattern entry, he set the flaps to 50 percent.

The pilot stated that, about the time the airplane entered the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, the tower controller issued a landing clearance, and, "out of nowhere…I saw a helicopter below me and to the left…" The pilot initiated an evasive maneuver, but he "heard a thump," and the airplane rolled right and nosed down. The pilot deployed the ballistic recovery system, and the airplane's descent was controlled by the parachute to ground contact.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The airplane pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued April 31, 2014. He reported 959 total hours of flight experience, of which 804 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

The flight instructor on board the helicopter held commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates with ratings for rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument helicopter. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued April 31, 2014. Examination of his logbook revealed 832 total hours of flight experience, of which 116 hours were in the accident helicopter make and model.

The helicopter pilot held commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument helicopter. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued April 29, 2013, and he reported 2,850 total hours of flight experience on that date. Excerpts of a pilot logbook for his helicopter time revealed 1,538 total hours of helicopter experience. A review of records revealed that he stopped flying as a helicopter tour pilot in 1994. During the years following, he logged five or fewer helicopter flights per year. Between 2004 and 2011, he logged one flight per year, none in 2011, and one in 2012. In 2014, he logged two flights in September, and two in October prior to the accident flight.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 2006. Its most recent annual inspection was completed June 13, 2014, at 1,289.8 total aircraft hours.

The helicopter was manufactured in 2004. Its most recent 100-hour inspection was completed October 2, 2014, at 1,758 total aircraft hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1553 weather observation at FDK included scattered clouds at 4,800 feet, 10 miles visibility, and wind from 330 degrees at 16 knots gusting to 21 knots.

The was 26 degrees above the horizon, and the sun angle was from 225 degrees.
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL

The air traffic control (ATC) group was formed on October 23, 2014. The group consisted of the group chairman from operational factors and a representative from the FAA compliance services group.

The group reviewed radar data provided by the FAA from Potomac TRACON (PCT), ATC voice recordings, controller training and qualification records, facility logs, standard operating procedures (SOP), letters of agreement (LOA), controller work schedules, and other related documentation. Additionally, the group conducted interviews with the LC who provided services at the time of the accident and the off-duty controller who witnessed the accident and assisted with initial notifications and the after-action response. Tenant operators on the airport were interviewed, including the operator of the accident helicopter. The group also held discussions with the air traffic manager (ATM) at FDK.

When asked what the traffic pattern altitudes (TPAs) were at FDK, both controllers, as well as the ATM, stated that the altitudes were 900 feet mean sea level (msl) for helicopters, 1,300 feet msl for small fixed-wing airplanes, and 1,800 feet msl for large fixed-wing airplanes and twins. When asked the origin of these TPAs and where they were published, the LC stated that they were published in the SOP and airport/facility directory (AFD). The witnessing controller thought the helicopter TPA was published in the local noise abatement procedures, but not in the AFD, but that the fixed-wing TPAs were in both. The ATM stated that only the fixed-wing TPAs were published in the AFD and that the helicopter TPA had been inadvertently left out without them realizing. The ATM stated that helicopter TPA was agreed upon during meetings with tower personnel, airport management, and airport tenants prior to the tower's commissioning. The facility was unable to produce any documentation that these meetings were ever held, and they were also unable to produce any documentation of the 900-foot msl helicopter TPA they had mentioned. The only documentation that was found was from old, locally produced noise abatement procedures.

According to FAA Order 7210.3Y, minutes of the meeting were to be taken and distributed to "the appropriate Service Area" office and to each attendee. These minutes were neither recorded nor distributed.

In an interview, the helicopter operator was asked for a copy of his flight school's SOP. He stated there was none. The policies and procedures were made by him, and distributed by word of mouth in periodic meetings. During an initial discussion, the operator stated that the helicopter TPA was between 900 and 1,000 feet msl, and 1,200 feet msl for autorotations. When asked how he decided upon the TPA of 900 feet msl for his pilots and students. He said, "It just kind of morphed into that. The airplanes are at 1,300 feet msl, and we thought we should be below that. They never published that in the AFD, and I wish they would."

According to the chief pilot for the helicopter operator, a 14 CFR Part 141 application would soon be submitted and an SOP would be published concurrent with the application.

AERODROME INFORMATION

FDK was at an elevation of 306 feet and was tower controlled. The tower was an FAA contract tower and was not radar-equipped.

Runway 5/23 was 5,219 feet long and 100 feet wide, and was located along the east side of the field. Runway 12/30 was 3,600 feet long, 75 feet wide, and located on the north side of the field. The two runways intersected at the approach end of runways 23 and 30.

The published TPA in the AFD for single-engine and light-twin airplanes was 1,300 feet msl, and 1,800 feet msl for heavy multiengine and jet airplanes. The traffic pattern was a standard left-hand pattern.

There was no published traffic pattern or TPA for helicopters in the AFD at the time of the accident. According to the FAA's Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), in the absence of a published TPA for helicopters, the helicopter TPA was 500 feet agl, or about 800 feet msl at FDK.

A pamphlet produced by the City of Frederick, Maryland, depicted the airport traffic patterns and identified the helicopter TPA as 1,100 feet msl.

A poster of the pamphlet's depiction was posted around the airport, and it also identified the helicopter TPA as 1,100 feet msl.

The SOP for the contract operator of the tower had no TPAs published. However, when interviewed, the LC on duty at the time of the accident stated the TPA for helicopters was 900 feet per the SOP.

As a result of the investigation, the AFD was updated on January 8, 2015, with a recommended TPA for helicopters of 1,106 ft msl/800 feet agl.

Radar Data

Radar data for the flights was obtained by the FAA from several radar sites in the area surrounding FDK. Radar data recorded the flight track of the accident airplane until seconds before the accident; however, no data were recorded for the accident helicopter.

At the time of the accident, the floor of the Potomac TRACON radar coverage in the area surrounding FDK appeared to be about 1,200 feet msl. The helicopter never climbed into radar coverage, and the collision between the helicopter and the airplane occurred below the area of radar coverage.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The helicopter wreckage and its associated debris came to rest in a self-storage complex between two buildings, with parts and debris scattered in and around the complex. All major components were accounted for at the scene. The main wreckage came to rest largely upright, and the cockpit, cabin area, fuselage, tailboom, engine, transmission, with main and tail rotors attached. All components were significantly damaged and deformed by impact forces. The "blue" main rotor blade was fractured near its root, and the outboard 11 feet of main rotor spar was located 50 feet from the main wreckage with no honeycomb or blade skin afterbody material attached.

Control continuity could not be established due to numerous fractures in the system, but all fractures exhibited features consistent with overload.

The airplane came to rest nose down, in a dense thicket of brush and low trees, wedged between tree trunks, and held in that position. All major components were accounted for at the scene, except for the right wing flap, aileron, and right landing gear wheel and tire assembly which were located between the helicopter and airplane sites. Examination of the airplane revealed that the trailing edge of the right wing was impact-damaged, and that the flap and aileron hinges were significantly damaged and twisted, and the surrounding sheet metal displayed "saw-tooth" fractures, consistent with overload. The structural cable between the wing strut and the empennage was still attached at each end, but missing a 5-foot section in the middle. The two severed ends displayed features consistent with overload. The empennage displayed a vertical opening and parallel slash marks.

Examination of the cockpit revealed the flap switch handle was in the "50 percent" position; however, the flaps and the flap actuator were positioned consistent with a flaps-up position. Because power was applied to all systems throughout the flight and after ground contact, the flap position could not be determined prior to the collision.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland performed autopsies on the helicopter flight instructor and helicopter pilot. The autopsy reports listed the cause of death for each as "blunt impact injuries."

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of the helicopter flight instructor and helicopter pilot. The tests for each were negative for the presence of carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Avidyne Primary Flight Display (PFD) Description

The PFD unit from the accident airplane included a solid state Air Data and Attitude Heading Reference System (ADAHRS) and displayed aircraft parameter data including altitude, airspeed, attitude, vertical speed, and heading. The PFD unit had external pitot/static inputs for altitude, airspeed, and vertical speed information. Each PFD contained two flash memory devices mounted on a riser card. The flash memory stored information the PFD unit used to generate the various PFD displays. Additionally, the PFD had a data logging function, which was used by the manufacturer for maintenance and diagnostics. Maintenance and diagnostic information recording consisted of system information, event data and flight data.

The PFD sampled and stored several data streams in a sequential fashion; when the recording limit of the PFD was reached, the oldest record was dropped and a new record was added. Data from the Attitude/Heading Reference System (AHRS) was recorded at a rate of 5 Hz. Air data information such as pressure altitude, indicated airspeed, and vertical speed was recorded at 1 Hz. GPS and navigation display and setting data were recorded at a rate of 0.25 Hz, and information about pilot settings of heading, altitude, and vertical speed references were recorded when changes were made.

According to the data, at 15:34:30, about 9 miles from the airport, the airplane initiated a descent out of 3,000 feet msl. The descent rate varied between 500-1000 fpm. The descent stopped at 1,600 feet pressure altitude (1,582 feet indicated) for about 10 seconds, at 15:36:40. The airplane then continued its descent at an approximate rate of 700 fpm.

As the descent continued, the airplane entered a right bank of about 15 degrees about 1.5 miles from the airport. While descending and turning right, pitch, vertical, longitudinal, and lateral acceleration experienced a loading event simultaneously at 15:37:36.

When this occurred, the aircraft was 0.75 miles from the field at 1,045 feet pressure altitude (1,027 feet indicated) and 100 kts indicated airspeed. Following the loading, the aircraft rolled a full 360 degrees to the right, pitch recorded extremes of 21 degrees nose- up to 80 degrees nose-down, and heading spun nearly 720 degrees to the right.

Following the loading, altitude was maintained for about 3 seconds before dropping at a maximum recorded rate of 5,470 fpm. The aircraft came to rest at 15:37:52 at 330 feet pressure altitude in a 75-degrees nose-down attitude with the wings rolled 46 degrees to the left. The recording ended with the aircraft static in these conditions.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Traffic Advisory System

The accident airplane was fitted with an L-3 Avionics SKYWATCH Traffic Advisory System (TAS). As installed, the system included an L-3 Avionics SKY 497 transmitter/receiver unit and an L-3 Communications antenna. The traffic information developed by the SKY 497 system was displayed in the cockpit and provided an audio alert.

According to the manufacturer, the SKYWATCH TAS monitored the airspace around the aircraft for other transponder-installed aircraft by querying Mode C or Mode S transponder information. These data would then be displayed visually to the pilot in the cockpit. The system also provided aural announcements on the flight deck audio system. The audio alert would be inhibited at 50 percent and 100 percent flap settings.

If an intruder aircraft's transponder did not respond to interrogations, the TAS would not establish a track on that aircraft. The system was not equipped with recording capability.

The SKYWATCH system operated on line-of-sight principles. If an intruder aircraft's antenna was shielded from the SKYWATCH system antenna, the ability of the SKY 497 to track the target would be affected. If a SKY 497-equipped aircraft was located directly above an intruder, the airframe of one or both of the aircraft could cause the SKY 497's interrogations to be shielded, depending on antenna location (top-mounted on the accident airplane). The SKY 497 also had the capability to coast (predict) an intruder's track to compensate for a momentary shielding.
In an interview with state police immediately after the accident, the pilot explained the operation of the system to the trooper conducting the interview, and stated he did not receive a traffic alert prior to the collision.

FAA Advisory Circular 90-48c

"Pilots should also be familiar with, and exercise caution, in those operational environments where they may expect to find a high volume of traffic or special types of aircraft operation. These areas include Terminal Radar Service Areas (TRSAs), airport traffic patterns, particularly at airports without a control tower; airport traffic areas (below 3,000 feet above the surface within five statute miles of an airport with an operating control tower…"