Saturday, October 15, 2016

Zenith CH-701, N3701M: Accident occurred October 15, 2016 in Albrightsville, Penn Forest Township, Carbon County, Pennsylvania

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report  -   National Transportation Safety Board:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Allentown FSDO-05

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA016
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 15, 2016 in Albrightsville, PA
Aircraft: HATCHER RODERICK R CH701, registration: N3701M
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

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

On October 15, 2016, at 1535 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Zenith CH701, N3701M, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Albrightsville, Pennsylvania. The private pilot sustained serious injuries and one passenger had minor injuries. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Benton Airport (PA40), Benton, Pennsylvania about 1450 and was destined for Pegasus Air Park (50PA), Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

The pilot reported that he was about 8 minutes from landing and preparing to descend from 3,000 feet mean sea level (msl) to 1,400 feet msl. The airplane made a "slight lurch" and the engine rpm dropped, followed by a complete loss of power. He placed the carburetor heat to the high setting and established best glide airspeed of 50 to 55 mph. The fuel selector valve was checked and an engine restart was attempted. The engine initially started; however, it would not develop power and shut down after a few seconds. A second restart was attempted with the same results. A third restart was attempted and the engine would turn over but not start. He slowed the airplane as much as possible and prepared for a forced landing into trees. The airplane settled into the trees and came to a stop on its left side. The pilot and his passenger exited the airplane and were met by first responders.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. Structural damage to the wings, fuselage, and empennage was confirmed. A cursory examination of the engine and fuel system did not reveal evidence of a mechanical malfunction. 

The airplane was a high wing, tricycle landing gear, short takeoff and landing (STOL) design. It was fitted with a Jabiru 3300A engine and a Sensenich fixed pitch propeller. The total aircraft time at the time of the accident was about 60 hours.

The engine was retained for further examination.

PENN FOREST TOWNSHIP — Two people were taken to the hospital after a small plane crashed in Carbon County.

State police said the plane went down behind a home along Pawnee Trail in Penn Forest Township near Albrightsville around 3:15 p.m.  Saturday.

The pilot and a passenger were taken to the hospital. There is no word on the extent of their injuries.

Troopers said the plane was headed to Saylorsburg when the pilot said there were engine troubles.

NTSB and FAA investigators will investigate what led to the crash.


Captain Doron: Direct crosswind landing in Luscombe

Video by Captain Doron
Published on October 15, 2016

Cirrus SR22, N176CF: Iowa State University may have no use for plane if Leath can't fly it

Iowa State University officials continue to answer "no" when asked whether the university purchased a used single-engine plane in 2014 just so the university president could fly it.

The latest "no" came in a FAQ that ISU officials released Wednesday along with many other documents related to the operation of ISU Flight Service and ISU President Steven Leath's use of the university's Cirrus SR22.

"The Cirrus was purchased to replace an existing older aircraft," the FAQ states. "The Cirrus was primarily purchased because it was safer, faster and more efficient than the small aircraft previously owned by the university."

Yet Leath, who has a pilot's license, told the ISU Student Government Senate earlier this month that, if he doesn't fly the Cirrus himself, the plane might not get enough use in the future to make it cost effective for the university to keep it.

He also told the student government that he has more training on Cirrus planes than the university's other three professional pilots combined.

The university president pledged to stop piloting state-owned aircraft after university officials confirmed last month he had damaged the Cirrus last year during a hard landing in Bloomington, Ill. The original estimate for the repairs was $12,591.70, but the actual cost was at $14,050.26, according to documents ISU released Wednesday.

The incident has raised questions about Leath's use of the Cirrus during at least four times in which mixed personal and professional business. Leath said he repaid the costs of the flight for each trip in question.

The incident also has raised questions about Leath's passenger use of the university's larger plane, a Beechcraft King Air.

Officials with the Iowa Board of Regents, which oversees Iowa's three public universities, have said no regent or university policies were violated by Leath's use of university aircraft. But the board's internal audit staff is conducting a review to ensure that university policies on travel and equipment comply with state law.

Both planes were purchased in 2014 to replace older aircraft used by ISU Flight Service. Since the purchase, Leath received additional training to be licensed to fly the smaller plane. The university's insurance policy required that some of that training be done on plane that will be flown.

"We'll still use the Cirrus for short inexpensive flights even if the King Air is available," Leath told reporters Oct. 5, "but if I’m not flying it, it may not get enough use to justify it."

The university released a flight log Wednesday for both the Cirrus and King Air planes. The information for the Cirrus, however, did not include who was piloting each flight.

Because the King Air requires two pilots to fly, there might not be another pilot available at the times Leath needs the Cirrus for a flight for university business.

"We’ll have to see how much total demand it gets," he said.

Being able to fly the smaller plane on his own, Leath said, allowed him to work more effectively on regents business. It also allowed him to meet more frequently with prospective donors to the university.

"Sometimes I would cut it close for a regents meeting in Council Bluffs because I could work almost right to the meeting, jump in the Cirrus, fly right to Council Bluffs and be in the meeting — as opposed to spending hours in the car," Leath said.


Aviation Officials Step Up Cybersecurity Checks of Older Messaging System: Concerns that decades-old data-transmission network is vulnerable to hacking fuel movement to modernize

The Wall Street Journal
Oct. 15, 2016 2:36 p.m. ET

U.S. and European aviation authorities are focused on cybersecurity threats that could affect a basic data-transmission system widely used by airlines around the world.

Such concerns about the decades-old system, called Acars and primarily used for air-traffic purposes and to provide information about the status of various aircraft components during flights, have surfaced in the past few months on both sides of the Atlantic. The issue has been raised in U.S. government contracting documents, as well as in comments by industry officials and high-level European safety regulators.

The information sent by the Acars network from planes to the ground isn’t considered safety critical, nor does the system handle any data that could immediately imperil safe operation of flights. No specific hacking attempts or intrusions have been detected, government and industry officials said.

But as the industry moves to revise 1980s-vintage transmission protocols and methods, including use of new frequencies and expanded messaging formats, experts have expressed heightened worries about the vulnerabilities of Acars to hackers or other types of outside intrusions. Because of its age, the system lacks some of the safeguards embedded in newer onboard messaging networks.

Disruptions of Acars could result in major problems for airline scheduling, maintenance or other operational functions, experts interviewed over the past few months said. Acars stands for Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, originally designed to send short air-to-ground messages. Future uses envision dramatically greater capacity and a wider range of messages.

In September, the Federal Aviation Administration awarded a first-of-a-kind contract to Milwaukee-based Astronautics Corp. to develop comprehensive risk-assessment tools to pinpoint cybersecurity vulnerabilities of aircraft electronics. Acars is slated to be the first onboard system that will be examined using those tools.

At the time, Astronautics said it planned to devise an “efficient, timely and repeatable process” to identify cyberthreats and risk-mitigation strategies.

FAA officials have declined to comment specifically about Acars or details of the contract. In an email on Thursday, the agency said it “will continue to further strengthen its capabilities to defend against new and evolving” cyberthreats.

Earlier, a top official of the European Aviation Safety Agency singled out Acars as a prime example of the need for stepped-up cybersecurity reviews of onboard data systems. Luc Tytgat told an FAA-EASA conference in Washington in June that work was under way “to see if we should not go back to certification” studies of Acars vulnerabilities.

Mr. Tytgat indicated Acars was at the top of the list for cybersecurity reviews, but added that EASA also planned to screen newer air-traffic-control technologies ready for deployment as part of a “total systems approach” that is “not something which is easy to implement.”

Since then, several industry officials familiar with the details confirmed that the agency is specifically delving into such matters.

An EASA spokesman this month said the Acars studies are part of a broader effort to update certification requirements for new aircraft, anticipated to take effect starting next year. He said the agency also is looking at possible enhanced safeguards for Acars and other existing systems on today’s fleet of commercial aircraft.

The activity comes amid escalating worries about cyberthreats to commercial aviation in general. Those threats have prompted a variety of government and industry responses, including devising future standards to ensure that any successful hacks will be detected and neutralized.

In addition, the FAA’s top outside technical advisory group in September agreed to pay greater attention to cybersecurity threats across the full range of onboard equipment, internet connections and air-traffic-control communications. The updated guidelines are intended to affect areas including aircraft design, flight operations and maintenance practices, among others.

As airlines, business jets and even small private aircraft become more connected to more ground and satellite links, the FAA also is considering separate recommendations from a joint industry-government panel to tighten federal oversight of cyber-related protections.

Original article can be found here:

British Aerospace BAe-125-700A, Rais Group International NC LLC -- operated by Execuflight, N237WR: Fatal accident occurred November 10, 2015 near Akron Fulton International Airport (KAKR), Summit County, Ohio

Akron, Ohio Charter Plane Crash Subject of NTSB Meeting 

What: The National Transportation Safety Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to determine the probable cause of a Nov. 10, 2015, charter flight that crashed into an apartment building in Akron, Ohio.

Date/Time: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. ET

Location: NTSB Board Room and Conference Center

Address: 429 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC

Participants: NTSB Board members

Live Webcast: A link to the webcast will be available at shortly before the start of the meeting.

NTSB Docket and Docket Items:

AKRON, Ohio — A former employee of the Florida-based charter jet company Execuflight told investigators that company officers destroyed or altered records in the aftermath of a fatal crash that killed nine people in Akron last year. 

In depositions released by the National Transportation Safety Board earlier this month, former Execuflight pilot Donnie Shackleford said the company's executives filed paperwork that showed they fixed planes without actually performing maintenance and that they falsified the weights-and-balances measurement for the plane that crashed.

He went on to say that the pilot flying the doomed plane had expressed reservations about flying with the co-pilot — stating that the pair did not have enough collective experience, and that "we're going to get ourselves killed."

Shackleford said Execuflight ordered him to lie to investigators, and that he lost his job after he refused to do so.

In his own deposition with NTSB investigators, Execuflight owner Daniel Lewkowicz denied the accusations and said his company is committed to safety.

An ill-fated flight

Renato Marchese, the 50-year-old pilot of the flight, and his captain and co-pilot Oscar Chavez, 40, were flying seven employees from Pebb Enterprises of Boca Raton, Florida, who were on a business trip scouting shopping malls to buy. They crashed Nov. 10 into an apartment building in Akron's Ellet neighborhood while en route to Akron Fulton International Airport.

The NTSB has not said what it believes to be the likely cause of the crash. The agency is expected to complete its investigation by next month.

NTSB investigators on Sept. 7 interviewed Shackleford, who is a veteran pilot with more than 20,000 hours in the air. He was recently included in the FAA's database of pilots who have met or exceeded the administration's high safety standards, according to NTSB and FAA records.

Shackleford told investigators that the company regularly pushed pilots to fly after they surpassed their maximum on-duty time set by federal law and that the executives "made such a scramble to change records and eliminate stuff right after the accident, it would make your head spin."

Pilot may have surpassed on-duty flying limits

Shackleford told investigators that Marchese already had surpassed his limit of on-duty hours when he began a three-day trip that included five other stops.

Shackleford described Marchese as "nervous," "timid," and having a "lack of confidence" when flying planes, and he told the NTSB that he had reservations about letting Marchese fly with passengers.

Marchese told Shackleford he was uncomfortable flying with Chavez as the plane's captain, specifically in bad weather. The pilots were forced to begin their descent through low hanging clouds the day of the crash.

Execuflight owner responds

In a Sept. 22 deposition, Lewkowicz said pilots are encouraged to report if they are not feeling up to flying and that pilots are responsible for keeping track of their own on-duty hours.

Lewkowicz said he checked with Marchese to see if he was comfortable with the back-to-back flights, and Marchese assured him he was.

Lewkowicz acknowledged, however, that the weights-and-balance measurements for the doomed flight were estimations. He said pilots often use a standard weight of 200 pounds per person.

The NTSB found the plane was 600 pounds overweight when it crashed.

NTSB investigators also questioned Lewkowicz about his decision to hire Marchese and Chavez. According to NTSB records, both were fired from their previous jobs -- Marchese for overall poor performance and Chavez for missing mandatory training.

Execuflight hired them in June 2015, and Lewkowicz told NTSB investigators he was unaware of the pilots' issues at their prior jobs. Lewkowicz said both had flying experience and came highly recommended.

Lewkowicz wrote in a separate letter to the NTSB that air-traffic controllers failed to provide the pilots with accurate and timely weather information. 

The NTSB released the depositions just as as Textron, the company that manufactured the plane, released its own report blaming pilot error for the deadly crash. 

Read more here:

NTSB Docket and Docket Items:


Andres Chavez

ExecuFlight CEO Augusto "Danny" Lewkowicz 


Rais Group International NC LLC - operated by Execuflight

FAA  Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Cleveland FSDO-25

NTSB Identification: CEN16MA036

Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 10, 2015 in Akron, OH
Aircraft: BRITISH AEROSPACE HS 125 700A, registration: N237WR
Injuries: 9 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 traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 10, 2015, about 1452 eastern stand
ard time (EST), Execuflight flight 1526, a British Aerospace HS 125-700A, N237WR, departed controlled flight while on approach to landing at Akron Fulton International Airport (AKR) and impacted a 4-plex apartment building in Akron, Ohio. The pilot, copilot, and seven passengers died; no ground injuries were reported. The airplane was destroyed by the crash and a postcrash fire. The airplane was registered to Rais Group International NC LLC and operated by Execuflight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on-demand charter flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight departed from Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport (MGY), Dayton, Ohio, about 1413 EST and was destined for AKR.

The airplane, which was based at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, departed Cincinnati Municipal Airport-Lunken Field, Cincinnati, Ohio, about 1112 EST on the day of the accident and arrived at MGY about 1125 EST. The airplane remained parked on the ramp at one of the fixed-base operators until departing for AKR.

According to Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control and radar data, about 1438 EST, the Akron-Canton terminal radar approach control facility provided radar vectors to the accident airplane for the localizer runway 25 instrument approach procedure at AKR. 

A Piper PA-28-161 airplane performing flight training at the airport completed the localizer runway 25 instrument approach procedure at AKR before the accident airplane began its approach. According to the flight instructor on board the Piper PA-28-161, the airplane "broke out at minimums" on the localizer runway 25 approach and landed on runway 25. After the Piper PA-28-161 exited the runway, the flight instructor reported that he heard one of the pilots of the accident airplane state "Hawker Jet on a 10 mile final localizer 25" over the Unicom frequency. Subsequently, the flight instructor radioed to the accident airplane and stated "we broke out right at minimums." According to the flight instructor, one of the pilots of the accident airplane acknowledged this transmission with "thanks for the update." 

About 1452 EST, a motion-activated security camera located about 900 ft to the southeast of the accident site captured the airplane as it came in over the surrounding trees in a left-wing-down attitude about 1.8 nautical miles from the approach end of runway 25 at AKR. An explosion and postcrash fire were observed on the video just after the airplane flew out of the security camera's view.

The postcrash fire consumed most of the airplane; however, the airframe, engines, primary flight controls, and landing gear were all accounted for at the accident site. The airplane was equipped with a Fairchild GA-100 tape unit cockpit voice recorder, which was recovered and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board's Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for examination. 

About 1450 EST, the surface weather observation at AKR was wind from 240 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 1 3/4 statute mile in mist; ceiling broken at 600 ft above ground level (agl); overcast ceiling at 900 ft agl; temperature 11 degrees C (52 degrees F); dew point 9 degrees C (48 degrees F); and altimeter 29.95 inches of mercury.