Thursday, November 17, 2016

Allegiant Airlines and its troubling safety record

SHREVEPORT, La -

If you're flying out of Shreveport, be warned!

New safety concerns for  low cost carrier Allegiant Airlines. Despite it success as the most profitable airline of 2015, its facing new criticism over it's safety.

After two emergency landings in Florida, these two Allegiant Airlines passengers have had enough.

"I'm really afraid to get back on the plane," said a female passenger in Jacksonville. 

"It was like getting in a car crash, everything just flew up for like two seconds. Everyone was like what just happened," said another in Tampa. 

Allegiant Airlines is the most profitable low cost carrier, but passengers in Shreveport are concerned if Allegiant air safe to fly? Former aircraft mechanic Regis Reddinger believes the airlines mechanical failures are being blown out of proportion. 

"Everything will beak at some point all you can do is preventative maintenance. You can't predict when it's gonna break," said Reddinger.

But according to the Federal Aviation Administration, the average US airline has about 3 unexpected landings, caused by mechanical problems for every 10-thousand times it flies. in 2015 allegiant had 12. Chris Moore, Chairman of the Aviation Mechanics Coalition is concerned. Allegiant Air's planes break down four times more often mid-flight than any other airline.

"We talked to mechanics, we talked to pilots and there seems to be a lax culture in maintenance," said  Moore.

Moore's accusations are supported by a recent investigation by the Tampa Bay Times. It states, in 2015, 42 of Allegiant's 86 planes broke down at least once. The jets were forced to land 77 times for serious mechanical failures. The main causes: failing engines, overheating tail compartments, and smoke - or the smell of something burning.   Moore says for years his agency has complained to the airlines and the FAA about issues with Allegiant planes. 

"We think that an airline that is highly profitable should be putting more money into its maintenance program," Moore added.

But Allegiant's repair process, according to the Times report, is just as troubling. 18 times last year, "key parts" such as engines, sensors, and electronics-failed in-flight. Each time they were investigated, but then failed again, resulting in another unexpected landing. 

Confronted with the statistics, Allegiant CEO Maurice Gallagher, Jr. admitted the company would do better: saying "We're very much focused on running a better operation". 

Those improvements include phasing out it's MD80 fleet, which was purchased already used from foreign carriers. Currently, only two other airlines - American and Delta- still use the MD-80 as part of their regular service, and Allegiant's MD-80s break down twice as often. Shreveport passenger Connie Persley say's she would rather pay full fare to fly with an airline with a better safety record.

"If you gonna break down at mid flight, I wanna live! I do not want to be on the plane that gets seriously damaged or die," said Persley.

The FAA's  recent report only found several "minor, non-systemic deficiencies with Allegiant's fleet. Which is basically a seal of approval that it is safe to fly.

Source:   http://www.ktbs.com

Curtiss JN4D Jenny, N1662: Fatal accident occurred November 17, 2016 near Peach State Airport (GA2), Williamson, Pike County, Georgia

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

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

Ron R. Alexander: http://registry.faa.gov/N1662

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Atlanta FSDO-11


NTSB Identification: ERA17FA050
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, November 17, 2016 in Williamson, GA
Aircraft: CURTISS JN4, registration: N1662
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On November 17, 2016, at 1809 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Curtiss JN4D, N1662, collided with terrain shortly after takeoff from Peach State Airport (GA2), Williamson, Georgia. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and fire. The airline transport pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 91 as a personal flight. Dusk, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to a witness, the airplane departed runway 31, appeared to be in a normal climb, and the engine sounded "as it always did." As the airplane passed the runway end markers, about 110 to 120 feet above the ground, he heard a loud backfire, followed by two "pops" that were not as loud. The airplane seemed to hesitate for an instant, then there was silence. He observed the airplane in a left-hand turn. After about 90 degrees of turn, he saw a flicker of flame appear from the forward left side of the fuselage that progressed into a "raging fire," with an audible "whoomp" sound. The fire streamed back over the top and left side of the fuselage for about one-half the length of the airplane. The fire persisted until the airplane disappeared behind a tree line and crashed. The witness immediately called 911. Another witness provided a cell phone photo of the airplane on the takeoff leg, with a visible fire near the forward section of the airplane.

The airplane came to rest, upright, in a grass field at the edge of a wooded area. The accident site was located about 1,060 feet southwest of the departure end of runway 31. There was no lateral wreckage path across the ground and no discernible impact crater. Fire consumed the entire airframe with the exception of the aft fuselage and empennage. Flight control cable continuity was established from the ailerons, elevator, and rudder to the dual cockpit controls.

All structure and components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site, with the exception of one blade of the wood-laminate engine propeller. A three-foot-long section of one blade, including the sheet copper-covered tip, was missing. The missing blade section was later found in a wooded area, about 380 feet southwest of the departure end of runway 31, and about 670 feet from the main wreckage.

The pilot, seated in the aft cockpit seat, held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single-engine, airplane multiengine, and glider ratings. He also held flight instructor and mechanic certificates. He reported 25,200 hours of flight time as on his latest Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate, dated June 29, 2016. The pilot-rated passenger, seated in the front cockpit seat, held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, airplane single-engine sea, and airplane multiengine sea ratings. He also held flight and ground instructor certificates. He reported 13,862 hours of flight time as on his latest FAA second-class medical certificate, dated May 12, 2016. He was also employed as an operations safety inspector with the FAA.

The single-engine, bi-wing, fabric–covered airplane incorporated a dual, tandem, open cockpit design with a tricycle landing gear. It was equipped with a Hispano-Suiza E-2 reciprocating engine rated at 180 horsepower. The engine was fitted with a St. Croix wood-laminate fixed-pitch propeller. A total restoration of the airframe and engine was completed in 2013. A condition inspection of the airframe and engine was completed on June 20, 2016. On that date, the aircraft total time was 58.6 hours, and about 10.5 hours were accrued since that inspection.

The propeller assembly was forwarded to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for additional examination.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by emaileyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email  assistance@ntsb.gov. 




PIKE COUNTY, Ga. - A small plane crash in Pike County killed two people Thursday evening.

“When I got back here, it was all in flames,” said resident Don Rainwater.

Don Rainwater owns several acres of land near the Peach State Airport in Williamson.

The single-engine plane took off from the airport around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, and shortly after takeoff, it crashed on Rainwater’s property. 

He came to see if anyone survived.

“The plane had already burned up, except for the tail section,” Rainwater said.

The crash killed both people on board. Everyone in the small community knows who they are, but officials haven’t released their names yet.

Winston Gray, 7, was riding in a golf cart with his grandmother when the plane took off.

”It took off close to the runway. I saw smoke and then I saw the pokes at the top and I was, like, ‘Fire! Fire!’ I told my grandma to call 911,” Gray said.

Rainwater thinks it’s a miracle that the plane crash didn’t cause a huge fire on his property.

“They said he had very little fuel on the plane. That's the reason there wasn't more fire than it was. If he had a full tank of fuel, all this would've been burned up because it would've scattered the fuel everywhere,” Rainwater said.

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

Ron Alexander


WILLIAMSON, Ga. -- Officials have confirmed a plane crash in middle Georgia has caused two deaths.

The crash happened about a quarter mile off of the runway at Peach State Airport in Williamson, Ga. around 7 p.m.

That's where, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, an experimental Curtiss JN4D Jenny crashed on departure.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are both on the scene investigating.

Pike County Coroner Terrell Moody confirmed the deaths to 11Alive late Thursday and that their bodies were being taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Medical Examiner's Office in DeKalb County for positive identification.

As such, the names of the victims have not been officially released.

Story and video:   http://www.11alive.com




Candler Field principal Ron Alexander and an unidentified Federal Aviation Administration official were killed Thursday evening in a small plane crash near the airport in Williamson.

The plane, a Curtiss JN4D Jenny, burst into flames upon impact. 

First responders rushed to the scene but could not save the two onboard.

The plane experienced trouble on takeoff.

It appeared the pilot tried to put it down in a pasture but it crashed into a wooded area.

Source:   http://www.barnesville.com



Around 5:30 Thursday evening units from the Pike County Sheriff's Department, Pike County Fire Department all responded to Candler Field in Williamson to a single engine plane crash. 

Witnesses stated to WKEU news that the aircraft appeared to be on fire right before impact. 

The Curtiss JN4D Jenny was being flown by Candler Field Museum and Barnstormer’s Grill owner Ron Alexander, and another passenger was also on board at the time of the accident.

Source:   http://wkeuradio.com

Chopper 3 Pilot, Photographer Recall Dangerous Run-In With Drone (with video)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was an average assignment for our helicopter photographer Al Nugent and pilot Ray Oechslin, when something buzzed across the sky just hundreds of feet from the chopper.

“My pilot Ray, shouted out drone,” Nugent recalled.

“The first thing that we do is try to identify,” Oechslin explained. “Try to find. Try to identify and then avoid.”

Their average assignment turned into one that was much more dangerous. “It was going after the police helicopter,” Oechslin said. “But then it came after us.”

That drone was flying in restricted airspace well above the legal 400-foot height limit and it was moving so fast that neither Nugent or Oechslin were able to keep it in their sight for more than a few seconds.

“At one point, he was coming right at our side door,” Oechslin said. “If it hits the rotor system, it creates a catastrophic environment,” Nugent said.

“A drone will bring [a helicopter] out of the sky if it hits it in the right spot,” Oechslin explained.

Fortunately, before anything deadly could happen, Philly Police were able to track the drone to the Evo building at The Cira Centre. 20-year-old Drexel student, Joe Roselli was spotted on the roof, operating it.

He was arrested a charged with reckless endangerment and risking a catastrophe. “I think if the penalty is imposed as it should be, I think people will be more careful. Let’s put it that way,” Nugent said.

“That’s what people think, they’re toys. But, they could hurt somebody or even kill someone,” Oechslin said.

If you plan to own and operate a drone, remember:

You have to register it with the FAA
You have to keep it within eyesight
You have to keep it below 400-feet

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

Cessna 210M Centurion, N761JL: Incident occurred November 17, 2016 at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (KSBA), California

http://registry.faa.gov/N761JL

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

AIRCRAFT LANDED GEAR UP, SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA. 

Date: 17-NOV-16
Time: 21:37:00Z
Regis#: N761JL
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 210
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: SANTA BARBARA
State: California





SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A single engine Cessna plane crash landed at the Santa Barbara Airport shortly after 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

Only one person was on board at the time of the crash but did not suffer any injuries, according to airport officials. Early reports indicate the plane did not have its landing gear down.

The plane crash landed on the belly of the plane on the 15-R [short] runaway, and slid to a stop. There was severe damage to the belly of the aircraft, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

The fuel tank had a small leak as a result of the crash, but firefighters were able to contain the fuel leak.

A large crane assisted in the removal of the downed aircraft from the runway. The NTSB and FAA were notified.

No commercial airlines are affected by this incident. There are no passenger or flight delays.

No further details were immediately available. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Story and video:  http://www.keyt.com




There were no injuries when a small plane made a rough landing without its landing gear deployed, at the Santa Barbara Airport Thursday afternoon, authorities said. 

The plane did not have its landing gear deployed, said Capt. Michael Hoose of the Santa Barbara City Fire Department. 

The pilot was the only person on board and was uninjured. 

Airport Patrol and fire department personnel were still on the scene as of 2:15 p.m. waiting on a crane to lift the plane up and off the runway, Hoose said. 

There was also potential for a small fuel leak from the plane, he added. 

Santa Barbara Airport was still open during the emergency response. 

The cause of the accident was being investigated. 

Source: https://www.noozhawk.com

Piper PA-23-160 Apache, N3250P: Incident occurred November 16, 2016 in Augusta, Butler County, Kansas

http://registry.faa.gov/N3250P

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Atlanta FSDO-11

AIRCRAFT LANDED WITH NOSE GEAR RETRACTED, AUGUSTA, KANSAS 

Date: 16-NOV-16
Time: 21:00:00Z
Regis#: N3250P
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA23
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: AUGUSTA
State: Georgia

Cessna 172, N6753A: Incident occurred November 16, 2016 in Cairo, Hall County, Nebraska

http://registry.faa.gov/N6753A

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Lincoln FSDO-65

AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED ON A ROAD, NEAR CAIRO, NEBRASKA 

Date: 16-NOV-16
Time: 21:30:00Z
Regis#: N6753A
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: None
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: CAIRO
State: Nebraska

Cessna P210R Pressurized Centurion, N888JW LLC, N888JW: Incident occurred November 15, 2016 in Rifle, Garfield County, Colorado

N888JW LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N888JW

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

AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED ON A ROAD, NEAR RIFLE, COLORADO 

Date: 15-NOV-16
Time: 00:40:00Z
Regis#: N888JW
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 210
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: None
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: RIFLE
State: Colorado

Rutan Defiant, N770JL: Accident occurred November 16, 2016 at Morristown Municipal Airport (KMMU), New Jersey

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N770JL

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Teterboro FSDO-25


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

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA054
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 16, 2016 in Morristown, NJ
Aircraft: LOOFBOURROW JOHN W RUTAN DEFIANT, registration: N770JL
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

On November 16, 2016, about 1530 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Rutan Defiant; N770JL, was substantially damaged during landing at Morristown Municipal Airport (MMU), Morristown, New Jersey. The private pilot was uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which departed South Bend International Airport (SBN), South Bend, Indiana, about 1200.

The accident airplane was centerline thrust, twin-engine, and canard equipped with a retractable nose landing gear. It also incorporated a ventral, starboard offset, forward mounted rudder ( rhino rudder), which was mounted to the bottom of the fuselage, on the left side of the retractable nose landing gear. As with a conventional rudder, it was used by the pilot to control the airplane about the yaw axis through the rudder pedals.

According to the pilot, the flight from SBN to MMU was uneventful until he landed at MMU, when during the touchdown, on Runway 23, the retractable nose landing gear suddenly collapsed.

Examination of the airplane revealed that it incurred damage to the front propeller, the bottom of the front engine's cowling, the front engine's tailpipe, and the rhino rudder.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and pilot records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate for the Rutan Defiant. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on February 19, 2016. He reported that he had accrued 5,905 total hours of flight experience, of which 1,245 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

According to FAA and airplane maintenance records, the airplane was issued a special airworthiness certificate in 2003. Its most recent condition inspection was completed on January 16, 2016. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accrued approximately 1,075.6 total hours of operation, and 1,338 landings.

Hughes 369D, N81GG: Fatal accident occurred November 15, 2016 in Pukoo, Hawaii

The  National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident

http://registry.faa.gov/N81GG

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Honolulu FSDO-13


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

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA021
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 15, 2016 in Pukoo, HI
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D/500D, registration: N81GG
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On November 15, 2016, about 1841 Hawaii standard time, a turbine-powered Hughes 369D (500D) helicopter, N81GG, was destroyed after impacting mountainous tree-covered terrain about 1-mile north of Pukoo, Hawaii. The certificated airline transport pilot and the sole passenger were fatally injured. The helicopter was registered to the pilot and operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. No flight plan was filed. At the time of the accident, dark night, visual meteorological conditions prevailed with localized reports of low visibility with heavy rain showers. The flight departed the Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii, at 1756, destined for a private residence near Pukoo, located on the Island of Molokai. 

The pilot owned property on the east side of Molokai Island that included a helipad and residence on the south-east side of Kamakou mountain at an altitude of about 750 and 250 feet, respectively. The helipad has four red solar powered perimeter lights, and three red exterior hangar lights that faced south. 

During an on-scene interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on November 18, the property caretaker reported that the accident pilot routinely used the southerly facing red exterior hangar lights to find the heliport during dark night conditions. The helipad was built high above the residence on a ridgeline that runs a magnetic course of about 330 degrees up the mountain. 

In a telephone interview with the NTSB IIC on November 18, a friend of the accident pilot, who is also a helicopter maintenance technician, said that the pilot often departed in the evenings, after work, from his hangar at the Honolulu International Airport for his property on Molokai. On November 15, the friend/maintenance technician helped the pilot and passenger load and fuel the helicopter just before departure. 

A review of archived Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar data revealed that, at 1756, the accident helicopter departed from the Honolulu International Airport, and it flew south-east at about 1,500 feet, across the Kaiwi Channel to the south side of Molokai Island. The last position of the radar target was recorded about 8 miles southwest of the Molokai Airport as it traveled east, and towards Pukoo. 

The last radio contact with N81GG was at 1824 when the Molokai Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) provided clearance for N81GG for transit through class D airspace to the south-east.

On November 16, after it was discovered that the helicopter did not arrive at the residence, the caretaker of the pilot's Molokai residence reported it overdue. Search personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), along with the crew of a Maui Fire Department's Air One helicopter, were dispatched to conduct an extensive aerial search effort. 

At 0852 the FAA issued an alert notice (ALNOT) for the missing helicopter. 

According to Maui County Police Department records, the crew of a Maui Fire and Rescue Air One helicopter discovered the wreckage at about 1331 about one half mile north of the pilot's helipad. Two rescue personnel were lowered to the site and confirmed that there were no survivors. On November 17 the remains of the two occupants were recovered from the accident site, and transported to Maui County Coroner.

On November 18 the NTSB IIC, along with another NTSB investigator, two FAA safety inspectors from the Honolulu Flight Standards District Office, Aviation Safety Inspectors from MD Helicopters, Boeing Helicopter and Rolls-Royce, reached the accident site in the afternoon. The site was located on the east side of a ridgeline in thick ferns and kiawe forest on a side slope of about 25 degrees at 1,389 feet. The aerial view indicated a confined wreckage pattern of burned and fragmented components on a course of about 310 degrees for 80 feet and a ground brush fire pattern that continued north-west for 50 feet upslope. The fuselage was consumed by post impact fire and all other large components were located in that area. South of the wreckage there were multiple broken tree limbs that revealed impact approach angle of 18 degrees from tree tops down to the helicopter skid fragments on the ground. Sections of the landing skids and windscreen were located first at the south end, then the tail rotor system with horizontal and vertical fins were upslope.

During an interview with the NTSB IIC on November 18, two witnesses who live at a neighboring residence west of the accident site said that they saw N81GG on the evening of the accident at 1837 flying low and slow over their property with a bright landing light illuminating them. The witnesses each commented that it looked like the pilot was lost and searching the ground for something before the helicopter turned to the east, and it departed for the shoreline. 

During a phone interview with the NTSB IIC on November 23, another witness who lives on the ridge to the east of the pilot's property, said that she saw a helicopter with a bright "search light" on the night of November 15 near her home. She said that she watched the helicopter make a "controlled descent under dark, windy and very rainy conditions" down across the ridgeline north of her house, (which is about one quarter mile east of the pilot's helipad,) then disappear behind the ridge. The witness stated that the weather was almost the worst that she had ever seen there, and she has been living at the residence part time for two years.

The National Weather Service radar data shows moderately heavy bands of rain passing from the north-east through the accident area at the approximate time of the accident. 

The closest weather reporting facility is Molokai Airport, located approximately 17 miles west of the accident site. At 1754 HST, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) at PHMK, reported wind 030 degrees at 14 knots, gusts to 23 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; scattered clouds at 4,400 feet; temperature 75 degrees F; dew point 69 degrees F; altimeter 30.02 inHg. 

Witnesses located in near Pukoo reported that weather conditions that were much worse than that being reported at the Molokai Airport, which included gusty wind conditions, heavy rain, and reduced visibility. 


Sunset on the day of the accident was 1746; the end of civil twilight was 1810.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email  assistance@ntsb.gov. 

Pilot confusion and bad weather may have contributed to the helicopter crash that killed well-known attorney Gary Galiher.

That’s according to a preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board Wednesday.

The crash occurred on Nov. 15, at around 6:41 p.m., in mountainous terrain about a mile above Pukoo, killing Galiher and his passenger, realtor Keiko Kuroki.

A search began after Galiher was reported missing Wednesday morning.

Family members say Galiher was an avid pilot who had been flying since he was in his 20s. The route from Oahu to Molokai was a familiar one as he flew frequently to his property on Molokai.

Attorney Gary Galiher


EAST MOLOKAI (HawaiiNewsNow) -   After an hours-long search Wednesday, crews located the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed in rugged terrain on Molokai, killing well-known Hawaii attorney Gary Galiher and his female passenger.

Galiher, 70, was traveling with a real estate agent from Honolulu to his Molokai home Tuesday night when he apparently ran into trouble during windy conditions.

The privately-owned Hughes 369D helicopter registered in Galiher's name departed Honolulu International Airport about 6 p.m. Tuesday and never landed at a private helicopter pad on Molokai as expected.

The chopper was reported overdue at 6:55 a.m. Wednesday, setting off a massive search by air and on land. Rescuers found the wreckage about 1:30 p.m. in a heavily wooded area some 1.3 miles above Kamehameha V Highway.

Galliher's daughter, Mari, told Hawaii News Now that her father was an "amazing man" who lived to help others.

"He's just such an incredible, incredible person," she said. "He's so passionate. He just loved what he did for people, and to him it was never about his name being out there. It was about helping people."

News of Galiher's death stunned his colleagues in the legal community.

"He'll really be missed. It's a big void," said attorney and fellow aviator Rick Fried, who worked with Galliher to help the state win a $1.38 billion settlement against the tobacco industry.

Galiher also spent more than 35 years helping mesothelioma victims in Hawaii.

"He was a good friend and was probably one of the top asbestos lawyers in the country," Fried said.

According to his firm's website, Galiher was also an experienced helicopter accident attorney who had more than 3,600 flight hours under his belt.

"He's very experienced. I've never heard of him having a problem," said pilot John Corboy, who also owns a private helipad on Molokai. "He's very knowledgeable. He commutes every week, just as I do for the past 30 years."

Corboy's wife says the weather near Kaunakakai was very gusty Tuesday night.

"The wind was blowing incredibly strong. I had to shut the house up just to keep the wind out. it was that bad," said Regan Corboy. "And it was gusting, coming this way and that way. Nothing that I would want to fly in."

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the accident, and crews are expected to work Thursday to remove the chopper wreckage from the crash site.

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

Aircraft & Helicopter Accidents Lawsuits: https://galiherlaw.com



Hawaii attorney Gary Galiher


HONOLULU -  Maui fire officials say the wreckage of the helicopter owned by Honolulu attorney Gary Galiher was found Wednesday.  Maui County officials say there were no survivors.

The crash site is near 793 Kamehameha V Highway in Kaunakakai.

Galiher was one of the people on board the black helicopter, according to his Maui law office.  They say he was with a realtor friend.  Galiher has a residence on Molokai.  The helicopter left Honolulu Tuesday evening and did not arrive at a privately-owner helicopter landing pad.

The Coast Guard says residents on the eastern side of Molokai reported seeing a helicopter matching the description.  The helicopter was a Hughes 369D, similar to the helicopter the Honolulu Police Department uses.

The helicopter was reported overdue by the Galiher's employee at 6:55 a.m. Wednesday. The employee called 911 and dispatch notified the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center personnel.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.  Allen Kenitzer from the FAA Office of Communications says the helicopter crashed near a Molokai residence under unknown circumstances.

Galiher's daughter, Mari, said Molokai was serenity for her dad.

"I didn't really understand all that he did, but I know he loved what he did," said Mari Galiher.  "He was a role model in my life."

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

Update: 3:31 p.m. 11/16/16

At 2:42 p.m. Wednesday, rescue crews who reached the helicopter crash site reported that there were no survivors. The Maui police department will be coordinating the recovery of the victims and the preservation of the wreckage scene for federal investigators. The crash site is located approximately 1.3 miles above the highway, near 793 Kamehameha V Highway. This about 1 mile east of the Pūkoʻo Fire Station.

Update: 2:40 p.m. 11/16/16

At 1:31 p.m. Wednesday, the fire department’s Air 1 helicopter located the wreckage of the missing helicopter. Crews have not yet reached the crash site. Crews are preparing to insert rescue crews by helicopter to determine the condition of the two occupants reported to be on board the aircraft. The crash site is approximately 1.3 miles above the highway, near 793 Kamehameha V Highway.

*Additional information will follow as it becomes available.

Original Post:

The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue helicopter with two individuals aboard near the south side of Molokaʻi after the craft was reported to be overdue on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016.

An employee of the helicopter owner called 9-1-1 to report the craft overdue at 6:55 a.m.

The black, privately owned helicopter reportedly departed Honolulu Tuesday evening with two people aboard and did not arrive to a private helicopter pad on Molokaʻi as expected.

Multiple Coast Guard air and surface crews and a Maui Fire Department aircrew are currently searching the ocean with assets that include the following:

– An HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point;
– Crews of USCGC Kittiwake (WPB-87316) homeported in Honolulu, was diverted from operations off Maui.
– Air 1 helicopter crew from Maui Fire Department.

Dispatch notified the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center personnel who in turn relayed the call to the watchstanders at Coast Guard Joint Rescue Communications Center in Honolulu.

An urgent marine information broadcast requesting assistance from mariners in the southern Molokaʻi area has been issued.

Anyone with information that may help locate the helicopter or crew is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu command center at (808) 842-2600

Weather conditions are currently reported as 21 to 23 mph winds, partly sunny with showers.

Source:   http://mauinow.com

Pennsylvania passengers wary, airports watchful as Allegiant planes suffer more breakdowns

It was supposed to be a proud day for Harrisburg International Airport. On Feb. 18, the airport was launching a new route with Allegiant Air that would take midstate residents to Florida for as little as $58 one-way. 

Attracted by the low fare, Tim Johnson, 29, and his girlfriend snagged a ticket for a weekend getaway. They arrived that morning for the maiden voyage to an airport that was decked out in inflatable flamingos and palm trees. The Beach Boys crooned over the radio and an Allegiant executive gave a speech before passengers boarded.

But only moments after settling into their seats did it became clear that something was wrong.

The plane wasn't moving.

After two hours, with little explanation, the passengers were asked to disembark. Mechanics were flown into the Lower Swatara Township airport to work on the plane. "They would go in, come back out and shake their heads," Johnson recalled.

After four more hours, the passengers were told they could board again. Johnson and his girlfriend arrived in Florida around dinnertime and returned without incident. But the plane's failure – on its maiden voyage, no less – had almost been comically infuriating.

"There was a lot of frustration," he said. "A lot of, 'this can't let us ruin our trip.' But there was definitely a lot of frustrated, angry people."

While all planes have breakdowns, a Tampa Bay Times investigation found that Allegiant is particularly susceptible to problems. In a story that was published on the tampabay.com website Nov. 2, the news organization found that the budget carrier's planes are four times as likely to fail during flight as those operated by other major U.S. airlines.

Working through the data it collected from the Federal Aviation Administration, a team of reporters connected a year's worth of flight records with documents showing mechanical problems at the 11 largest domestic carriers in the United States, including Allegiant. According to the story, reporters interviewed 20 aviation experts, including former federal safety inspectors, aircraft engineers and mechanics.

Then they traveled to Las Vegas and met with Allegiant executives for a series of interviews. The airline did not dispute the newspaper's findings, which included:

Forty-two of Allegiant's 86 planes broke down in mid-flight at least once in 2015. Among them were 15 forced to land by failing engines, nine by overheating tail compartments and six by smoke or the smell of something burning.

After certain systems on Allegiant planes fail, the company repairs them and puts the planes back in service, only to see the same systems fail again. Eighteen times last year, key parts such as engines, sensors and electronics failed once in flight, got checked out, and then failed again, causing another unexpected landing.

Allegiant's jets are, on average, 22 years old. The average age of planes flown by other carriers is 12. Experts say planes as old as Allegiant's require the most rigorous maintenance in the industry. But Allegiant doesn't staff its own mechanics at 107 of the 118 airports it flies to.

Allegiant relies most heavily on McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, an aging model retired by all but two other major U.S. carriers. The company's MD-80s fail twice as often as those operated by American Airlines and three times as often as those flown by Delta.

A few days after that, the Times published an editorial that addressed the findings in the investigation.

Allegiant Chairman and CEO Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. responded to the original story and the editorial with a letter to the editor that was published Wednesday on the Times website, disputing the conclusions.

"The Times irresponsibly conflates reliability with safety," he wrote. "Diversions delay one's travel plans, but they certainly do not mean safety was in any way compromised." Later in the letter, he complained that information the reporters gathered on Allegiant's maintenance procedures and safety programs never made it into the story. 

While Johnson's breakdown in Harrisburg occurred before takeoff, three incoming or outgoing Allegiant flights had midair malfunctions in Pennsylvania last year according to data provided to PennLive by the Tampa Bay Times.

Those include an April 18, 2015, flight from Punta Gorda, Fla., to Lehigh Valley International Airport that was forced to turn around because of a problem with its right engine. The engine was removed and replaced after landing.

Meanwhile, on June 17, 2015, a flight from Tampa Bay to Pittsburgh turned back because of a problem with its air conditioner.

Upon landing, the air conditioner also had to be removed and replaced.

On June 21, a flight from Lehigh Valley to Charlotte County, Fla., was forced to turn around after it faced a more serious incident: Its left engine was dangerously overheating.

Once the plane returned to the airport, it became clear that the issue was serious enough that it needed to be piloted by a special crew to a maintenance facility.

But one of the most serious incidents in the country occurred just over Pennsylvania's southern border, on June 8, 2015.

At Hagerstown International Airport in Maryland, an Allegiant flight conducted an emergency landing during takeoff after a flight attendant reported fumes that seemed like burning rubber.

According to a Tampa Bay Times report from court documents related to that incident, the aircraft's elevator jammed, causing its nose to rise prematurely.

The pilot later said that he believes the plane would have crashed if it had become airborne.

Scott Miller, spokesman for the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority, which operates the Harrisburg airport, said airport officials are taking their cue from the Federal Aviation Administration.

"They are the experts," he said. "I'm sure if there was an issue, the FAA would have taken drastic action and grounded" the planes.

Miller added that while Allegiant planes had seen delayed and canceled flights out of Harrisburg over the past year, the airline was "fairly reliable." He said the airline was working closely with the federal agency to ensure compliance.

"This is not a new story," Miller said.

Officials at Lehigh Valley International Airport, which also flies Allegiant, echo the sentiments out of the Harrisburg airport.

"The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for regulating the airline industry through safety inspections and monitoring flight operations," said the authority's executive director, Charles Everett.

He noted that Allegiant maintains its FAA certification to continue flying their aircraft. Everett added that while officials at Lehigh have seen the Tampa Bay Times report, they we have not fully reviewed it.

"Our mission at the LNAA is operating safe, efficient and modern airport facilities for passengers in the Lehigh Valley," he said. "In over a decade of providing affordable air service at LVIA, Allegiant continues to demonstrate their commitment to delivering an enjoyable and safe customer experience, while also becoming a reliable partner in the community with their support of Wings for Autism and Make-a-Wish. We are happy with our relationship."

After learning about Tampa Bay Times' findings, and his own rough experience with the airline still fresh in his mind, Johnson said he was now wary of flying Allegiant.

"I think next time we will just pony up a few extra dollars and fly a more reliable airline," he said. 

Everett noted that as part of its investment in the future, Allegiant is transitioning out of the MD-80 and into the Airbus320.

Source:  http://www.pennlive.com

Piper PA-20S, N7329K: Accident occurred October 23, 2016 at Arcadia Municipal Airport (X06), DeSoto County, Florida

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

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N7329K

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA040
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, October 23, 2016 in Arcadia, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/15/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA 20S, registration: N7329K
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 he ferried the straight float-equipped airplane to a grass airstrip for an annual inspection. During landing on the grass airstrip in crosswind conditions, the pilot reported that upon touchdown he applied back pressure to the controls and added power, but the airplane lifted and came back down quickly. The crosswind had drifted the airplane to the left and as the airplane began to slow on the runway the pilot felt the left float buckle. Subsequently, the left wing and nose impacted the ground and the airplane nosed over, coming to rest inverted.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings, the fuselage, and the rudder.

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

The pilot reported the wind as 060 degrees true at 10 nautical miles per hour, and not gusting. The pilot landed on runway 31.

The pilot reported that the grass had just been cut, and that it would have been better if there had been dew on the grass. He further reported that the crosswind drifted the airplane to the left causing the left float to collapse. He wrote that he should have returned home and come back the following day when there was dew on the grass and no headwind.

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

The pilot's improper pitch and power control during landing in a straight float-equipped airplane on grass in crosswind conditions, which resulted in a loss of directional control.

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA040
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, October 23, 2016 in Arcadia, FL
Aircraft: PIPER PA 20S, registration: N7329K
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 he ferried the straight float-equipped airplane to a grass airstrip for an annual inspection. During landing on the grass airstrip in crosswind conditions, the pilot reported that upon touchdown he applied back pressure to the controls and added power, but the airplane lifted and came back down quickly. The crosswind had drifted the airplane to the left and as the airplane began to slow on the runway the pilot felt the left float buckle. Subsequently, the left wing and nose impacted the ground and the airplane nosed over, coming to rest inverted.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings, the fuselage, and the rudder.

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

The pilot reported the wind as 060 degrees true at 10 nautical miles per hour, and not gusting. The pilot landed on runway 31.

The pilot reported that the grass had just been cut, and that it would have been better if there had been dew on the grass. He further reported that the crosswind drifted the airplane to the left causing the left float to collapse. He wrote that he should have returned home and come back the following day when there was dew on the grass and no headwind.