Monday, October 24, 2016

Elizabeth City Regional Airport manager starts November 1st

The Elizabeth City Regional Airport will have a new director who's a former Marine, with additional experience as a defense contract worker and, most recently, as operations manager at Pitt-Greenville Airport.

Gordon Rowell, 49, said he'll report for work in Pasquotank County on Nov. 1. His last day at Pitt-Greenville Airport was on Friday.

Reached by phone on Friday, Rowell said he wants to grow relationships with the Elizabeth City Regional Airport's neighbor, the Coast Guard base, and with nearby Elizabeth City State University.

Additionally, Rowell said he wants to appeal to and secure business from corporations who have jet aircraft.

Rowell said while he loves single-engine airplanes and wants to see as many of them coming in as possible, he wants to get some corporate jet owners to base their aircraft here because those aircraft use more fuel than the weekend aviators.

“I think it would make the place more financially stable if we had some based jets,” he said.

The Elizabeth City Regional Airport, which dates back to 1972, is a general aviation facility that serves many private aviators and also provides refueling for military aircraft. The airport also contributes to the estimated $384 million impact that aviation makes to the local economy.

Rowell on Friday acknowledged the significance of an airport in helping recruit future businesses and industries to a city and a county.

“By and large, most of your airports, whether they get a lot of attention for it or not, are economic development tools,” he said. “They add a certain platform for a lot of companies.”

Rowell said he also knows that there are some companies in the business world looking to expand and that they will look to have an aviation center somewhere.

“It adds to their capabilities whenever you can get on an airplane and go someplace to do business somewhere else,” he said.

Rowell said he applied for the position at Elizabeth City Regional Airport because he likes the Elizabeth City area and because, as a former military man, he likes the Coast Guard being just across the flight line.

Additionally, Rowell cited what he said is the natural progression for being an airport operations person to managing an airport.

“So this was a step up for me and I figured it was time for me to actually do that,” he said.

Airport Authority Chairman Don Parks said on Friday that Rowell is going to be paid approximately $73,000 a year. Parks said that he believes it's good that he and fellow authority members “got a local guy,” with local being in the sense of not from far off from Elizabeth City.

“I think he's going to do a good job,” he said.

Parks also said that he and his fellow members liked Rowell being a former Marine long involved in aviation and are “absolutely” looking forward to working with him.

“We can't wait for him to get on the ground here and take off and hopefully do some great things,” he said.

Rowell, who's originally from Chicago, said he served in the Marines from 1987-2004, both stateside and all over the world. His job was to service aircraft. He also served for a time as a Marine recruiter.

Rowell particularly recalled the impact of seeing the 1986 movie “Heartbreak Ridge,” which starred Clint Eastwood as a fictional salty Marine gunnery sergeant determined to cut through bureaucratic red tape in getting a slack recon platoon into shape.

Rowell said the character played by Eastwood was an inspiration when he was younger, but he said he learned in the Marines that it's not necessarily always great to go in with guns blazing. He said he learned that it also sometimes takes a bit more finesse to get things done.

And he added that, “You have to operate as a team to get things accomplished.”

He said he went on to work approximately six years in the defense contracting business, also servicing aircraft, before joining Pitt-Greenville Airport.

Pitt-Greenville Airport, which dates back to 1940, today is one of American Airlines' spokes that link with a hub in Charlotte.

Asked to describe what he did at Pitt-Greenville Airport as the operations official there, he summed up his now-former job this way: “If it stands still, I have to make sure I paint it. If it moves, I have to make sure it's oiled and serviced.” He said he supervised 27 people.

Rowell spoke Friday about knowing Elizabeth City State University has an aviation education program. ECSU's aviation program is the only one offered in North Carolina.

Rowell said that in fact while at Pitt-Greenville Airport, he oversaw an intern from ECSU who was learning how to fly aircraft. He also said he taught the intern much about Pitt-Greenville Airport's operations.

Additionally, he said he'll put College of The Albemarle officials on his checklist to go see. COA has a regional aviation and technical training center in Currituck County.

As for the Coast Guard officials locally, he said, “I'm very eager to meet them and find out what their long-term plans are for what they want to do with that place.”

Rowell will be filling a vacancy resulting from the resignation of Dion Viventi approximately three months ago.

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Economic Development Director Wayne Harris doubled as the airport's interim director. Viventi is presently managing director of the Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport Authority.

Rowell is going to become the third Elizabeth City Regional Airport manager hired in an approximately decade-long period.

Viventi, a former N.C. Department of Transportation official, had been airport manager since January 2014. He had succeeded Scott Hinton, a former Coast Guard search and rescue pilot who's presently general manager of Freedom Aviation in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Source:   http://www.dailyadvance.com

Pitt-Greenville Airport deals with life near a river



Pitt-Greenville Airport’s new executive director said Hurricane Matthew changed the question about flooding from the Tar River from “will” to “when.” 

“We know the Tar River will flood,” said Betty Stansbury, who has been on the job since June 1 after relocating from Indiana. “We can’t move the river, and we can’t move the airport ... so we have to minimize the risk associated with being next to a river that floods.”

The Pitt-Greenville Airport is back to normal operations after Hurricane Matthew and the resulting floods hit eastern North Carolina. The airport shut down operations on Oct. 9 and reopened its shorter runway to smaller planes on Wednesday. The facility resumed commercial airline flights on Friday, Stansbury said.

The south end of the airport’s main runway was covered by floodwaters for several days, and water flooded the parking lot and damaged some vehicles that had been left at the facility.

“When we closed that Sunday, there were about 75 cars parked at the airport,” Stansbury said. “We contacted as many people as we could and opened the gates so people wouldn’t have to pay to get out. We were down to about 33 cars when the river reached its highest level. A few of them did get some water damage, but most were parked where it was a little more elevated.”

Water entered most of the facility’s 24 hangars but did not get inside the airport’s terminal, Stansbury said.

“The damage was not as bad as it could have been,” she said. “Our estimates for damage to the hangars is about $350,000 right now.”

An engineer from the airport’s consulting group assessed the structural integrity of the runways before the airport reopened.

“The engineers inspected the runway, and there was no visual damage,” Stansbury said. “And they performed a load-bearing test to ensure that planes could land on it. In a few weeks, we will do additional testing to make sure there is no damage to the foundation.”

Crews also spent several days cleaning debris from the runways before any planes could land.

“That absolutely had to be done because any debris is hazardous to aircraft,” Stansbury said. “It cost $33,000 to have that done.”

Now that operations have been restored, Stansbury said airport officials can discuss what can be done to prepare for a major flood event in the future.

“Our first priority has been getting the airport up and running,” Stansbury said. “Now we’re going to have some discussions here with the Federal Aviation Administration to see what we can do to limit the amount of damage the next time the Tar River floods.”

Stansbury said one of the airport’s top priorities should be elevating the south end of the facility’s main runway to keep it above potential floodwaters. Stansbury said the runway could be elevated if funding can be secured for the project.

“The north end of the runway is at an elevation of 26 feet,” she said. “The south end is at 20 feet. The north end of the runway did not flood. We need to look at leveling the runway off, which is just a matter of obtaining the funds needed.”

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, the District 1 representative from Wilson, said he will be seeking federal grant money for a potential runway elevation project.

“We have to keep that runway out of the water,” Butterfield, who recently helped the airport secure a $2.5 million grant to fund improvements and upgrades, said. “I am working on getting money from the FAA to do that.”

Stansbury said airport officials also may consider moving more of its operation into the second floor of the facility’s terminal. In 2011, the Pitt-Greenville Airport completed a $7.9 million expansion and renovation that added a second floor to the terminal where the passenger screening and holding areas are located.

“That renovation was done with Hurricane Floyd (in 1999) in mind,” Stansbury said. “After Hurricane Matthew, we had to move everything on the first floor up to the second floor in case the water entered the terminal. If the airport decides to do another expansion, we could consider moving operations to a second story to keep everything out of potential floodwaters.”

Keeping the airport’s hangars and parking lot away from flooding could prove more challenging, Stansbury said.

“You can’t elevate the hangars because you wouldn’t be able to get the planes into them,” she said. “I’m not sure what can be done for the hangars and the parking lot. I will have to discuss that with our engineers to determine what can realistically and reasonably be done.”

‘A valuable asset’


Some people have raised concerns about investing federal tax dollars into an airport damaged by two major flooding events in 17 years. Others have suggested consolidating air services with the airport in Kinston and developing that facility into a larger, regional airport. 

“A lot of people will say move the airport to Kinston,” Stansbury said. “But we don’t want to go to Kinston and have everyone in Greenville have to go there for their air transportation needs.”

Stansbury said many areas west of Pitt County also rely on Pitt-Greenville Airport for air transportation services.

“We are the closest airport for these communities,” she said. “They need us here as well.”

Stansbury said the Pitt-Greenville Airport also plays an important role in Pitt County’s economy.

“The airport makes a significant economic contribution to this community,” she said. 

During the June 6 meeting of the Greenville City Council, Pitt-Greenville Airport Authority Chairman John Banks presented the results of a study conducted by the state on the economic impact of airports on local economies. According to the study, airports contribute to an economy through:

* Direct impacts, which come from businesses that are directly engaged in the movement of people or goods through an airport, such as airline employees and rental car companies;

* Indirect impacts, which come from spending by airport-related businesses on products and services provided by support businesses, such as office supply companies or property maintenance;

* Induced impacts, which comes from payroll expenditures by employees of directly and indirectly related businesses that produce successive spending locally. 

Banks said the Pitt-Greenville Airport has an estimated economic impact of about $100 million a year in Pitt County, according to the state’s study. That estimate has almost doubled since 2011, when the state’s data put the airport’s economic contribution at about $51 million each year.

“That is a big economic draw for this region,” Banks told council members during the June meeting. 

Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, also a board member of the Pitt-Greenville Airport Authority, said the airport is an important factor in the area’s economic growth.

“Transportation is an important part of our infrastructure,” Thomas said. “A lot of businesses here depend on having access to air transportation services, and having an airport is one of the top things businesses and industries look at when looking at an area to locate.

“This airport is an asset ... and we think it’s an important one,” Thomas said. “And we are going to continue to aggressively develop this asset in the coming years.”

Story and photo gallery:   http://www.reflector.com

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Short Brothers SD3-60 Sherpa, registered to and operated by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a public aircraft in support of the Forest Service, N148Z: Incident occurred October 13, 2016 at Missoula International Airport (KMSO), Montana

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Helena, Montana 

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N148Z  

Location: Missoula, MT
Incident Number: WPR17IA007
Date & Time: 10/13/2016, 1645 MDT
Registration: N148Z
Aircraft: SHORT BROS SD3 60 SHERPA
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Defining Event: Sys/Comp malf/fail (non-power)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Public Aircraft 

On October 13, 2016, about 1645 mountain daylight time, a Short Bros SD3-60 Sherpa airplane, N148Z, sustained minor damage following a nose gear collapse during landing, at the Missoula International Airport (MSO) Missoula, Montana. The two airline transport pilots, were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), as a public aircraft in support of the Forest Service. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the ferry flight which originated from Kingman Airport, Kingman, Arizona, about 1253.

The pilots reported that prior to landing, they had an unsafe nose gear indication. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to get the nose gear to extend and indicate that it was down and locked, they decided to come in for a landing. During the landing roll, as the airplane's nose was lowered, the nose gear collapsed, and the forward section of the bottom of the fuselage, made contact with the runway surface. Once the airplane came to a stop, both pilots egressed.

Examination of the airplane by the operator revealed minor damage on the underside of the fuselage.

The airplane was returning to MSO, on its first flight, after being re-painted by a vendor in Kingman, Arizona. According to the operator, examination of the nose gear revealed that it failed to lock in the extended position and collapsed during landing. The flight crew attempted to extend and lock the nose gear during the flight but were unsuccessful.

Post incident examination of the nose gear down-lock actuator piston (plunger), revealed that its chrome surface had been painted, which resulted in the locking piston not engaging, and prevented the locking of the nose gear during landing gear extension. The painting of the nose gear down-lock actuator piston was not observed by maintenance personnel or the flight crew on their pre-flight exterior checks.

The airplane manufacturer Shorts issued a SD3-60 Sherpa Service Information Letter (SIL) Sherpa L-23, in April 2007, titled: Servicing/Painting – Removal of masking material/paint from nose landing gear down-lock actuator piston after cleaning/painting operations. The SIL described a similar incident where the nose gear failed to lock in the down position, on the first flight after the airplane had been re-painted. The subsequent investigation revealed paint spray on the exposed chrome piston of the nose landing gear down-lock actuator. The SIL stated "to ensure that all masking material has been removed from the exposed piston after cleaning/painting, and that the piston is free from any paint or cleaning materials."

Additionally, the landing gear emergency accumulator was observed during the pre-flight checks to indicate below the specified pressure. The accumulator was serviced by maintenance to an adequate pressure, prior to takeoff. However, the pressure bled down during the incident flight, and when the emergency landing gear extension was used, the accumulator did not have adequate pressure. According to the operator's maintenance inspector, when activated, a fully serviced emergency accumulator forces the rapid application of hydraulic pressure into the system, however, according to the airplane's manufacturer, this is reliant on the main system hydraulic pressure being depleted so that the emergency pressure can change a control valve position. In this situation, the emergency pressure would be greater than the residual pressure of the failed main hydraulic system.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor
Age: 58, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s):  Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Helicopter; Instrument Airplane; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/12/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/06/2015
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 8715 hours (Total, all aircraft), 148 hours (Total, this make and model), 7755 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 82 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Co-Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 49, Male 
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/25/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/02/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 6424 hours (Total, all aircraft), 210 hours (Total, this make and model), 4921 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 90 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SHORT BROS
Registration: N148Z
Model/Series: SD3 60 SHERPA SHERPA VAR
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1994
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate:
Serial Number: SH3428
Landing Gear Type: Hull; Tricycle
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/24/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  2 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 5203.6 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-65R
Registered Owner: USDA Forest Service
Rated Power: 1298 hp
Operator: USDA Forest Service
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: MSO, 3206 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1653 MDT
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 7000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 360°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.8 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: KINGMAN, AZ (IGM)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: MISSOULA, MT (MSO)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time: 1253 MST
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: MISSOULA INTL (MSO)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 3206 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 29
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 9501 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 46.916389, -114.090556 (est)

NTSB Identification: WPR17IA007
14 CFR Public Aircraft
Incident occurred Thursday, October 13, 2016 in Missoula, MT
Aircraft: SHORT BROS SD3 60 SHERPA, registration: N148Z
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

On October 13, 2016, about 1645 Mountain daylight time, a Short Bros SD3-60 Sherpa, N148Z, sustained minor damage following a nose gear collapse during landing, at the Missoula International Airport (MSO) Missoula, Montana. Two Airline Transport Pilots, the only occupants of the airplane, were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), as a public use aircraft in support of the Forest Service. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the ferry flight which originated from Kingman Airport, Kingman, Arizona, about 1253 Mountain standard time.

The pilots reported that prior to landing, they had an unsafe nose gear indication. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to get the nose gear to extend and indicate that it was down and locked, they came in for a landing. During the landing roll, as the airplane's nose was lowered, the nose gear collapsed, and the forward section of the bottom of the fuselage, made contact with the runway surface. Once the airplane came to a stop, the flight crew egressed.

Examination of the airplane by the operator revealed that the underside of the fuselage, near the nose wheel, sustained minor damage.

Eurocopter AS 350B3, Gallup Med Flight: Accident occurred October 22, 2016 in McKinley County, New Mexico

Photo Courtesy of McKinley County Sheriffs Office




McKinley County Sheriff’s Deputies say an alleged drunk driver ran through barricades to strike a fire truck and medical helicopter.

Frank Hernandez was at the scene and witnessed the crash. Hernandez works for Speedway Towing in Gallup. He was at the site of a crash to tow away a vehicle that had rolled over, the wreck that the medical helicopter was responding to.

“Then I noticed after we got the vehicle picked up, this black Jeep flew past us,” said Frank Hernandez. “I was thinking what the heck is this guy doing? Because they had people out there trying to stop traffic, already he almost hit two ladies.”
  
Hernandez says the Jeep plowed through the barrier around the medical helicopter before hitting the fire truck and then the helicopter.

The suspected driver has been identified as 26-year-old Glenn Livingston of Gallup.

“Our medical team did an outstanding job. The patient was extremely critical, they maintained composure, they were professional and the stabilized this patient despite the incident that occurred on the scene,” said Regional Director Julia Azua.

The patient made it safely to the hospital due to the medical crew’s efforts.

Hernandez says the accident wasn’t even a surprise.

“You’ve got to be pretty drunk. I’ve seen them where they’ve taken vehicles off the road and they don’t know they did that, or not,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez says he estimates about 95% of the cars in his lot were destroyed due to drunk drivers.

Livingston was arrested and is facing charges that include aggravated DWI and open container.

Story and video:  http://www.kob.com


GALLUP, N.M. (KRQE) –  McKinley County Sheriffs Office deputies responded to a crash early Sunday morning after a suspected drunk driver went crashing into a medical helicopter and fire truck on Highway 566 near Gallup.

Deputies say a landing zone for a medical transport helicopter had been set up by the fire department for transport of a patient from a separate crash on Navajo route 1149, when the reported drunk driver went around the barricade on Highway 566 crashing into the helicopter and fire truck.

The helicopter was unoccupied, not running and rotors were not spinning, according to McKinely County Sheriff’s Office.

McKinley County sheriff’s say the suspected drunk driver, now identified as 26-year-old Glenn Livingston of Gallup, has been arrested and is charged with aggravated DWI, resisting, evading and or obstructing an officer among other charges.

No injuries were reported at the time of the crash.

MCSO says all vehicles involved were rendered inoperable and towed from the crash scene.

Source:   http://krqe.com

The McKinley County Sheriff’s Department confirms a vehicle driven by an alleged drunk driver crashed into a medevac helicopter northeast of Gallup on Hwy 566 overnight.

The accident happened when the helicopter crew was in the process of rescuing an occupant involved in a single car rollover.

The road was shut down and two fire engines were parked on both sides of the rotorcraft to protect it.

All occupants, including the pilot were out of the rotorcraft assisting the injured occupant when the accident occurred.

The driver reportedly drove around one of the fire engines then crashed into the helicopter and continued on and crashed into the fire engine.

No injuries were reported and the driver’s name and charges have yet to be released.

The occupant of the initial rollover was transported by ambulance and expected to make a full recover.

Source:  http://www.koat.com

Boeing B75N1, registered to 3G Classic Aviation LLC and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, N56200: Accident occurred May 11, 2016 near Winslow-Lindbergh Regional Airport (KINW) Winslow, Navajo County, Arizona

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona 

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

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

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N56200

Location: Winslow, AZ
Accident Number: WPR16LA106
Date & Time: 05/11/2016, 1710 MST
Registration: N56200
Aircraft: BOEING B75N1
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

The private pilot reported that, earlier in the day, she had flown three flights, totaling about 5 hours of flight time, which included uneventful takeoffs from two airports with a higher density altitude than that which existed at the accident airport; the calculated density altitude at the time of the accident was about 7,223 ft.

The pilot reported that, before takeoff for the accident flight, she conducted an engine run-up and pretakeoff checks, which included leaning the mixture to account for the density altitude. She also conducted a static-power check, which was in the normal range. The pilot reported that, during takeoff for the personal cross-country flight, the airplane accelerated and climbed out normally with the tachometer indicating 2,250 rpm. As the airplane climbed to about 50 ft above ground level, the engine began to lose power, and the airplane started to descend. The pilot turned the airplane left to maintain clearance from obstacles and verified the throttle, mixture, propeller, fuel, and carburetor heat settings. Subsequently, the airplane struck the ground and rolled about 20 ft, the right main landing gear impacted vegetation, and the airplane cart-wheeled. The pilot reported that, just before landing, she observed the tachometer indicating 2,000 rpm.

It is likely that the engine's partial loss of power, in combination with the high-density altitude, prevented the airplane from being able to maintain a positive climb rate during takeoff. Postaccident examination of the airplane and engine run did not reveal any evidence of any preexisting anomalies that would have precluded normal operation; therefore, the reason for the partial loss of engine power could not be determined. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The partial loss of engine power during takeoff initial climb in high-density altitude conditions for reasons that could not be determined because a postaccident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no anomalies.

Findings

Environmental issues
High density altitude - Effect on operation

Not determined
Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Cause)

Factual Information

On May 11, 2016, about 1710 mountain standard time, a Boeing B75N1, N56200, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a partial loss of engine power during takeoff initial climb at the Winslow-Lindbergh Regional Airport (INW), Winslow, Arizona. The airplane was registered to 3G Classic Aviation LLC., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot and her passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The cross-country flight was originating at the time of the accident with an intended destination of Phoenix, Arizona.

In a written statement to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported that prior to takeoff; she conducted an engine run up and pre takeoff checks, which included leaning for density altitude, and conducted a static power check, which was in the normal range. The pilot further reported that during takeoff from runway 29, the airplane accelerated and climbed out normally, with the tachometer indicating 2,250 rpm. As the airplane was about 50 feet above ground level, it began to descend. The pilot stated that in order to avoid powerlines, she performed a left turn to maintain clearance, and verified the throttle, mixture, propeller, fuel, and carburetor heat settings. Subsequently, the airplane struck the ground, rolled about 20 feet, the right main landing gear impacted vegetation, and the airplane cartwheeled. The pilot reported that just prior to landing; she observed the tachometer indicating 2,000 rpm. The pilot added that earlier in the day, they had flown three flights, totaling about 5 hours of flight time. The flights included uneventful takeoffs from two airports with a higher density altitude.

Postaccident examination of the airplane by the pilot revealed that all four wings, tail, and fuselage were structurally damaged. The airplane was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Examination of the recovered wreckage revealed that the upper and lower wings were removed by the wreckage recovery company to facilitate wreckage transport. The empennage and right gear leg were also separated from the fuselage. The engine, a Lycoming R-680-E3B, rated at 300 horsepower, remained attached to the fuselage via its mounts. The fuselage was hoisted by a forklift, and the right gear leg was subsequently removed. Throttle, mixture, and propeller control continuity was established from the rear cockpit controls to the engine.

The front spark plugs were removed and examined. All nine spark plugs were intact and undamaged. The number one and two spark plugs exhibited black deposits within the electrode area, and the remaining spark plugs exhibited gray deposits within the electrode area. All engine accessories remained attached to the engine, and exhibited no damage. The carburetor was intact, and all linkages were secure. The carburetor fuel screen was removed, and a gray / tan liquid was drained from the carburetor. The fuel screen was free of debris. The liquid smelled similar to 100 Low Lead fuel, and tested negative for water using water finding paste. The air filter was removed, and a red dirt substance was observed within the housing, however, the air filter element appeared to be mostly free of debris. The gascolator screen and bowl was free of debris.

The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft, and exhibited an approximate 20 degree bend aft from about mid span on either blade.

The spark plugs and carburetor fuel screen were reinstalled. About 8 gallons of fuel was added to the center wing fuel tank. The engine was primed using the airframe fuel pump, and subsequently started. The engine was run for about 10 minutes at various power settings. During the engine run, a maximum power setting of 2,200 rpm and 28 inches of manifold pressure was obtained. A magneto test was performed at 1,500 rpm with a drop of about 75 to 100 rpm noted. The engine was manually shut off using the mixture.

Using the reported airport elevation of 4,941 feet, recorded weather conditions from about 14 minutes prior to the accident, the NTSB IIC calculated the density altitude to be about 7,223 feet and a pressure altitude of 4,757 feet. 

History of Flight

Initial climb
Loss of engine power (partial) (Defining event)
Off-field or emergency landing
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 54, Female
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/05/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/02/2015
Flight Time:  1750 hours (Total, all aircraft), 450 hours (Total, this make and model), 1400 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 26 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 23 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BOEING
Registration: N56200
Model/Series: B75N1 N1
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1943
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 757813
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  03/21/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 23.4 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 454 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: R-680-E3B
Registered Owner: 3G CLASSIC AVIATION INC
Rated Power: 300
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KINW, 4883 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2356 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 55°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 350°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: 
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Winslow, AZ (INW)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Phoenix, AZ
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1710 MST
Type of Airspace: 

Airport Information

Airport: WINSLOW-LINDBERGH RGNL (INW)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 4941 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 29
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 7100 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 35.021667, -110.731944 (est)

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA106
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 11, 2016 in Winslow, AZ
Aircraft: BOEING B75N1, registration: N56200
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

On May 11, 2016, about 1710 mountain standard time, a Boeing B75N1, N56200, was substantially damaged during a forced landing at the Winslow-Lindbergh Regional Airport (INW), Winslow, Arizona. The airplane was registered to 3G Classic Aviation LLC., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot and her passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The cross-country flight was originating at the time of the accident with an intended destination of Phoenix, Arizona.

The pilot reported that during takeoff from runway 29, as the airplane ascended to about 30 to 50 feet above the ground, the engine began to lose RPM. The pilot initiated a left turn to avoid power lines and subsequently landed off airport. During the landing roll, the right main landing gear sunk into the ground and the airplane cartwheeled. The pilot reported that all four wings, tail, and fuselage were structurally damaged.

The airplane was recovered to a secure location for further examination.




Eleven-thousand kilometres in 32 legs over six weeks, alone in an open cockpit plane.

Alone. The word is the backdrop of a presentation delivered by British biplane pilot Tracey Curtis-Taylor at speaking engagements around the world. It is the key word in articles written about her in dozens of newspapers and magazines. It is the basis for the image the 54-year-old has constructed of herself: a lone pioneer, following the winds of great female pilots like Amelia Earhart, Amy Johnson, and Mary Heath, who took tremendous risks flying solo over long distances.

But last week, when Curtis-Taylor’s plane crashed in the Arizona desert, the name of her camera-shy co-pilot, Ewald Gritsch, surfaced online and reignited a debate that has been going on in the general aviation community for years. Can the self-described “Bird in a Biplane,” famous for her solo flights across continents, continue to enjoy lucrative sponsorship and media attention when the journeys are flown with an experienced pilot in the front seat?

This is the question being asked by Curtis-Taylor’s former logistics manager Sam Rutherford, who was with her for her entire journey from Capetown to the U.K. in 2013. He and a film crew flew in a chase plane next to Curtis-Taylor.

After Curtis-Taylor recently crashed in the Arizona desert, she released a statement on Facebook saying that she and Ewald Gritsch, who was with her in the plane, were not injured. The U.S. flight was the final portion of a trip around the world in a vintage biplane, an aircraft similar to the small crop duster in the Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest. Previous trips took her from Cape Town to Great Britain, and then on to Australia.

According to Rutherford, when the flight across Africa was being planned, Curtis-Taylor told him that it would be a solo trip.

“The film crew, sponsors, the press — everyone — thought she would be doing it solo,” he said in an interview. “At no stage did anyone say there would be anyone else in the aircraft.”

Rutherford, who runs a company that helps photographers and film crews plan trips around the world was pleased with the outcome of the intercontinental trip, but became concerned after he saw Curtis-Taylor telling crowds of people that she flies solo. He was also concerned about how a BBC documentary, The Aviatrix, depicted the journey.

“Ten thousand miles, with no modern technology — just a joystick and pedals,” the narrator claims in the film.

This too is a problem to Rutherford, who says that the plane was equipped with the latest navigation computers and GPS.

During a recent speech at the Seattle Museum of Flight, Curtis-Taylor stood in front of a backdrop which claims she was alone in the plane during the Africa trip. Rutherford says it is just the latest in a series of presentations given by the pilot that allegedly exaggerate the truth, and the results have been lucrative.

“It suits the film crew and sponsors very neatly to have this done as a lone, solo female pilot,” he said. “That sells. That has value. If someone climbs Mount Everest alone, it’s a bigger deal than if they do it with a team.”

In aviation, the designation of a solo flight is not insignificant. Completing a long-distance flight solo is a much bigger feat than having a co-pilot. In most countries, pilots-in-training have to complete a minimum number of solo flight hours to earn a license. Flights completed alone also conform more to the image of the early pioneers of aviation, who in many cases became known for their solo flights.

The value of Curtis-Taylor’s image has drawn the attention of major sponsors like Boeing, whose logo appears on the side of the Stearman biplane. The plane is called the Spirit of Artemis, named after multi-billion dollar firm Artemis Investment Management.

Boeing and Artemis Investments are mentioned in nearly all of Curtis-Taylor’s statements on Facebook. Even after the recent crash, the pilot stressed the importance of Boeing in providing support, turning the close call into a powerful public relations statement. It is not clear in the Facebook post exactly what kind of support the sponsors provided after the crash, except that someone offered a replacement plane to continue the journey.

Long, intercontinental biplane trips can cost over $500,000, including fuel, logistics, and the cost to rent the aircraft.

Curtis-Taylor declined the offer of a new plane, noting how important it is for 3G Classic Aviation, another sponsor, to repair the biplane. That same company is owned by Ewald Gritsch, the mysterious co-pilot who provided the plane for the transcontinental trip.

According to Rutherford, the director of Artemis flew to Kenya a third of the way through the Africa trip, and instructed Curtis-Taylor to stop describing her trip as solo. Instead, Curtis-Taylor and the film crew were allegedly told to stress that the flight was following the journey of Lady Mary Heath, who flew across Africa in the 1920s.

“It shifted from ‘I’m doing this solo’ to ‘I’m following Lady Heath’s solo flight,'” he said. “But that still suggests it was a solo flight. It gave them deniability later, and the same language was used in the Australia trip.”

Curtis-Taylor’s website claims that the U.S. trip is the final leg of the pilot’s circumnavigation of the world. Rutherford questions this too, saying that oceanic trips will not be included.

“The aircraft and she will go around the world,” he said. “For large parts of it though, the plane will be in a container on a ship, and she’ll be on British Airways.”

But not everyone in the aviation community has been receptive to Rutherford’s criticism. In a popular online aviation forum, dozens of anonymous users have come to Curtis-Taylor’s defense, arguing that her critics are trying to attack a woman in aviation, an industry dominated by men.

“I was wondering how long it would take for some cynical, tall-poppy knocking, armchair expert to denigrate the effort,” one user wrote. “So instead of bitching, why don’t you get up and have a go yourself?”

Others noted that intercontinental flights in biplanes are commonplace, and that Curtis-Taylor is being given disproportionate attention.

Mike Flynn, a pilot and former journalist who is active in the general aviation community, says that critics are not trying to hack down a tall poppy.

“It’s all about money and connections,” he said in an interview. “Tracey is well-connected with British royalty. It’s why she’s taken photos with Prince Michael, and why she’s up for the Order of the British Empire.”

Flynn has also questioned awards presented to Curtis-Taylor by the Honourable Company of Air Pilots and the Light Aircraft Association.

“Her connection with Boeing comes through her past relationship with Robert Marshall who runs Marshall Aerospace in the U.K. He is involved in the Air League who gave her a recent award,” he said.

Flynn’s main concern is that the awards, and sponsorship granted to Curtis-Taylor have cut into the opportunity that could otherwise go to female pilots who are eager to make similar trips, but who do not have the same opportunities and financial relationships to get off the ground.

“Amanda Harrison was planning to do this,” Flynn explained. “And I think she gave up because of the publicity Tracey got. She was going to do it in a Tiger Moth.”

Harrison, who planned to fly from the U.K. to Australia in 2015, says that she initially thought that the flight could be done without wealthy connections.

“I read about all these amazing pioneers in aviation and they where all rich, until I read about Amy Johnson and she was a normal person who needed a job to pay for her flying,” she said. “So as soon as I read about her I knew I could do it if she had done it without having a fortune.”

But a few months before Harrison’s flight, Tracey Curtis-Taylor announced that she would be doing the U.K. to Australia trip, and arrived in Sydney a few weeks after Harrison was scheduled to leave. Harrison lost funding from her own sponsors, and cancelled the trip.

When asked about why some trips are successful and others are not, Harrison replied: “Lets say that some people develop a particularly close network of high net worth men who seem happy to help fund her adventures.”

Tracey Curtis-Taylor and Ewald Gritsch did not initially reply to requests for interviews. They have since declined to go on the record to address criticisms.

Story, comments and photo gallery: http://news.nationalpost.com




British 'Bird in a Biplane' stripped of flying award amid claims she wasn't flying solo

Self-styled 'Bird in a Biplane' Tracey Curtis-Taylor has been stripped of a prestigious flying award following claims she wasn’t flying solo.

The decision by The Light Aircraft Association came amid allegations she had a co-pilot on her epic flights.

The respected Light Aircraft Association has rescinded its coveted Bill Woodhams Trophy which it awarded to her in 2015 for flying from Cape Town to Britain for navigational and flying skill.

It is thought to be the first time such an award has been rescinded.

Members of the LAA voted 123 to 65 to rescind the trophy at an Annual General Meeting at Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire on Saturday.

Curtis-Taylor, 54, who attended the AGM in a bid to head off the motion, has been mired in controversy after flight instructor Ewald Gritsch revealed he occupied the forward cockpit of her vintage bi-plane for most of the legs of her famous journeys.

Her former logistics manager Sam Rutherford also said Curtis-Taylor had been guilty of embellishing the truth and had only flown four of the 36 legs from Cape Town to Goodwood solo.

Veteran member of the Light Aircraft Association Barry Tempest, who proposed her award be withdrawn in the light of the revelations, said: “I am delighted the award has been rescinded and her name will removed from the annals of the Light Aircraft Association.

“I have the greatest of respect for women pilots but I think Tracey Curtis-Taylor has not done a lot the further their case.

“I think she is a boastful lady who needs bringing down a peg or two.

“She made these claims about flying solo, or at least that is what we were lead to believe, and now it has come out that they were not that at all.

“Far from it. I believe the integrity of the LAA has been restored.”

On the surface the former waitress’s trips in her 1942 Boeing Stearman mirrored some of history’s greatest exploits by solo female flyers.

The trip from Cape Town to Goodwood, West Sussex was first completed solo by Lady Mary Heath in 1928.

Curtis-Taylor completed the 36-leg, 10,000-mile-flight in 2013 and in 2015 received the award from the Light Aircraft Association for the feat.

Mr. Gritsch was also on board for parts of her trip from Farnborough to Sydney, where she arrived in January after a flight covering 23 countries in 50 legs, recreating the 1930 journey of the intrepid Amy Johnson.

When she crashed in Arizona earlier this year on the third leg of her round-the-world flights Austrian co-pilot Gritsch was seen scrambling from the wreckage and his presence triggered a storm of outrage on respected flight forums Flyer and Pprune.

More details emerged about Curtis-Taylor’s vintage plane being equipped with GPS navigational equipment and the presence a support plane.

She faced more awkward questions about why Gritsch appears to have been edited out of a BBC documentary about her first big flight from Cape Town to Goodwood.

The Light Aircraft Association said it would respect the vote of its members.

In recent months Curtis-Taylor has sought to defuse the growing controversy by stating that she never claimed to be flying solo.

Tracey Curtis-Taylor was unavailable for comment.

Story and photo gallery:  http://www.mirror.co.uk