Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cessna 182P Skylane, N7392Q, registered to Skypartners LLC and operated by the pilot: Accident occurred November 23, 2016 near Bridgeport Municipal Airport (KXBP), Wise County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Irving, Texas
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama 

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


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms 
 
Skypartners LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N7392Q





Location: Bridgeport, TX
Accident Number: CEN17LA044
Date & Time: 11/23/2016, 1115 CST
Registration: N7392Q
Aircraft: CESSNA 182P
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel starvation
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On November 23, 2016, about 1115 central standard time, a Cessna 182P airplane, N7392Q, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power on initial climb after takeoff from runway 36 (4,004 feet by 60 feet, asphalt) at the Bridgeport Municipal Airport (XBP), Bridgeport, Texas. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to Skypartners LLC and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was operated on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The flight had originated shortly before the accident.

The pilot reported that they departed Hutchinson Regional Airport (HUT) about 0827. The intended destination was the New Braunfels Regional Airport (BAZ), with a planned fuel stop at XBP. After fueling the airplane at XBP, she obtained an IFR clearance to BAZ. The takeoff was "normal" until about 200 ft above ground level when the engine "suddenly stopped completely." Her efforts to restore engine power were not successful and she executed a forced landing straight ahead. The airplane touched down "hard" in the pasture off the end of the runway and impacted a row of trees before coming to a stop.

The passenger reported that the takeoff proceeded "uneventfully" and the engine ran "smoothly." However, shortly after takeoff as the airplane neared the end of the runway, the engine lost power. The airplane landed "very hard" in the grass beyond the end of the runway and struck trees.

A witness reported that the airplane first touched down about 1,000 feet beyond the departure end of the runway in the middle of a field. The airplane subsequently bounced, touched down again, and impacted a tree. The propeller separated after the airplane contacted the tree. He responded to the accident site and observed the fuel selector in the Off position at that time. He noted that fuel was pouring from the right-wing fuel tank.

The responding Texas Highway Patrol Trooper stated that both the pilot and passenger independently informed him that they believed the fuel selector was in the "wrong" position during takeoff. They had stopped for fuel and did not reset the selector prior to departure.

The accident site was located about 500 yards north of the runway 36 departure threshold, according to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector that responded to scene. A postrecovery examination of the airplane was conducted by an FAA inspector, with technical assistance from representatives of the airframe and engine manufacturers. No anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction were observed.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 63, Female
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/01/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/10/2016
Flight Time:  646 hours (Total, all aircraft), 439 hours (Total, this make and model), 541 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 34 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N7392Q
Model/Series: 182P P
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1972
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 18261032
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/08/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2348 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 68 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4551 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: C91A installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-470-F(37)
Registered Owner: Skypartners LLC
Rated Power: 260 hp
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: XBP, 864 ft msl
Observation Time: 1115 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 180°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C / 6°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots/ 14 knots, 320°
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Bridgeport, TX (XBP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: New Braunfels, TX (BAZ)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 1115 CST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Bridgeport Muni (XBP)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 864 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 36
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4004 ft / 60 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor

Latitude, Longitude:  33.175278, -97.828333 (est)


NTSB Identification: CEN17LA044
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 23, 2016 in Bridgeport, TX
Aircraft: CESSNA 182P, registration: N7392Q
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

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

On November 23, 2016, about 1115 central standard time, a Cessna 182P airplane, N7392Q, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power on initial climb after takeoff from runway 36 (4,004 feet by 60 feet, asphalt) at the Bridgeport Municipal Airport (XBP), Bridgeport, Texas. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to Skypartners LLC and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight had originated shortly before the accident.

A witness initially observed the airplane on approach to runway 36. The engine was "coughing and sputtering." The airplane crossed the runway threshold about 500 feet above ground level (agl) and subsequently overshot the runway. It first touched down about 1,000 feet beyond the departure end of the runway in the middle of a field. After touching down, the airplane bounced about 25 feet into the air before touching down again and impacting a tree. The propeller separated after the airplane contacted the tree.

The accident site was located about 1,500 feet north of the runway 36 departure threshold.



A Buhler dentist and his wife are still recovering from injuries sustained in a plane crash in Texas on Wednesday morning.

Sara Hunt, 63, a pilot, was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth with serious injuries. The hospital’s house supervisor said she was in stable condition.

Dr. Dalton “Dal” Hunt, 66, was transported to Wise Regional Hospital with serious injuries. A hospital spokeswoman said his condition wasn’t available.

The crash happened about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday shortly after their Cessna 182 aircraft took off from Bridgeport Municipal Airport, near Fort Worth.

The plane lost power, then crashed into a field and hit some trees. Sara Hunt was piloting the plane.

FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said Sara Hunt had reported engine trouble.

“Preliminary information indicates that the pilot was attempting to return to the airport with engine trouble when the aircraft crashed short of the runway,” Lunsford told the Fort Worth Star-Tribune. According to a family friend, the couple left Hutchinson on Wednesday morning and stopped in Bridgeport. They were en route to visit family in Texas. He said Sara Hunt is a veteran pilot.


The plane is registered to a corporation, Sky Partners LLC, in Buhler, according to the FAA website, and was manufactured in 1972.

BRIDGEPORT - A Buhler dentist and his pilot wife were injured when their small plane crashed on take-off from an airport in Texas while the couple was in route to visit family.

Sara Hunt, 63, and Dalton “Dal” Hunt, 66, were both injured in the 11 a.m. crash at Bridgeport Municipal Airport, near Fort Worth. 

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Lonny Haschel told the Fort Worth Star-Tribune that one male passenger was transported to Wise Regional Hospital with serious injuries and one female was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital Fort Worth. Her condition was unknown.

“Sara was taking the plane to San Antonio, where they have family,” said Radley Brooks, who is also part owner of the Cessna 182. “They left Hutch this morning, and stopped partway to refuel.”

Brooks said he was making calls to reach Hunt family members, but he was unaware of the reason for the crash or the couple’s conditions.

“Sara’s been a pilot for a long time,” Brooks said. “It was just a personal plane.”

The plane is registered to a corporation, Sky Partners LLC, in Buhler, Kan., according to the FAA website, and was manufactured in 1972. 

"Preliminary information indicates that the pilot was attempting to return to the airport with engine trouble when the aircraft crashed short of the runway," FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.

Source:   http://www.hutchnews.com


BRIDGEPORT, TX (CBSDFW.COM) — The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that an airplane crashed shortly after takeoff from the Bridgeport Municipal Airport on Friday morning.

Public Affairs Manager Lynn Lunsford told CBSDFW in an email, “Preliminary information indicates that the pilot was attempting to return to the airport with engine trouble when the aircraft crashed short of the runway.”

Lunsford said the accident occurred at about 11:15 am and that two people who were on board were taken to the hospital.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety one male passenger was transported to Wise Regional Hospital with serious injuries. One female passenger was also transported by air ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. There was no word on the nature of the female victims’s injuries.

DPS says the airplane was a Cessna 182P Skylane.

Source:  http://dfw.cbslocal.com

A single-engine Cessna 182P Skylane with two people on board crashed shortly after takeoff from Bridgeport Municipal Airport Wednesday morning, the Federal Aviation Administration confirms.


Lynn Lunsford, with the FAA, told NBC 5 that preliminary reports are that the pilot had engine trouble.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Lonny Haschel said the plane lost power shortly after takeoff and crashed into a line of trees at about 11:15 a.m.

The treeline runs parallel to U.S. Highway 380/Texas 114 north of the airport.

Both occupants were seriously injured and were hospitalized; one occupant, a man, was taken by ground to Wise Regional Hospital, while a second occupant, a female, was airlifted to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Source:  http://www.nbcdfw.com

BRIDGEPORT, Texas - Two people were hurt when a small plane crashed in Wise County Wednesday morning.

It happened around 11:15 a.m. shortly after a Cessna 182 took off from the Bridgeport Municipal Airport. DPS Sgt. Lonny Hashel said the plane lost power, crashed into a field and hit some trees.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the pilot had reported engine trouble and was trying to return to the airport. The crash happened just short of the runway.

Both the male and female on board suffered serious injuries. The female was airlifted to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth and the male was taken to Wise Regional Hospital in Decatur.

It's not yet clear which of the victims was piloting the plane.

The FAA is investigating the crash.

Source:   http://www.fox4news.com

Piper PA-18-150, Brooks Flyers LLC, N83641: Accident occurred November 22, 2016 in Bethel, Alaska

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

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

BROOKS FLYERS LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N83641

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03


NTSB Identification: ANC17LA007
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 22, 2016 in Bethel, AK
Aircraft: PIPER PA-18, registration: N83641
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 November 22, 2016, about 1400 Alaska standard time, a Piper PA-18 (Super Cub) airplane, N83641, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing, following a loss of engine power, near Bethel, Alaska. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, Brooks Flyer LLC, as a visual flight rules (VFR) aerial observation flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 when the accident occurred. The certificated commercial pilot and one passenger were uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and company flight following procedures were in effect. The flight departed Bethel, at about 1050, with an intermediate stop at a remote unimproved landing site.

In a statement provided to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot stated that the purpose of the flight was to conduct wildlife surveys for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He stated that about 2 hours and 40 minutes into the flight they landed on a remote gravel bar to take a break, followed by departure and climb-out a few minutes later. During the climb he noticed his oil pressure had redlined at 100 pounds per square inch (psi) with an oil temperature of 138 degrees Fahrenheit. In an effort to correct for the high oil pressure, he reduced his power to 2150 rpm and the oil pressure came down to 90 psi, with all other engine instruments in the normal range. He adjusted his course for Bethel while slowly climbing the airplane to about 1,000 feet above ground level, and applied the carburetor heat. Shortly thereafter, smoke began filling the cockpit. He turned into the wind, applied full flaps, reduced the power to idle, and selected a small frozen lake as an emergency landing site. While maneuvering for the emergency landing the engine lost all the power, and he made a forced landing in an area of tundra covered terrain. During the forced landing the airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing. 

The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-360 series engine. 

The closest weather reporting facility was Bethel Airport, Bethel, about 45 miles south of the accident site. At 1353, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) from Bethel Airport was reporting, in part: wind from 020 degrees at 10 knots; visibility 6 statute miles, mist; clouds and sky condition, few clouds at 15,000 feet, few clouds at 25,000 feet; temperature 0 degrees F; dew point -2 degrees F; altimeter 29.41 inHg.

An examination of the engine is pending.

Curtiss Wright Travel Air 4000, N3242 and Piper PA-28-181, N2242W: Accident occurred November 22, 2016 at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport (KMYF), San Diego, California

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

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA077A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 22, 2016 in San Diego, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/15/2017
Aircraft: CURTISS WRIGHT TRAVEL AIR 4000, registration: N3242
Injuries: 5 Uninjured.

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA077B
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 22, 2016 in San Diego, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/15/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N2242W

Injuries: 5 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 of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that he was cleared to taxi to the departure runway. He added that, while taxiing, he was doing S-turns to see over the nose of his airplane, and “must have missed a call to the aircraft [airplane] ahead of him,” which had been instructed to hold short of the upcoming taxiway. His airplane impacted the empennage of the stopped airplane that was holding short. 

His airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing, and the stopped airplane sustained substantial damage to the empennage. 

Both pilots reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with their airplanes that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to see and avoid the airplane stopped ahead of him during taxi. 

The pilot of the tailwheel equipped airplane reported that he was cleared to taxi to the departure runway. He added that while taxiing he was doing S-turns to see over the nose of his airplane, and "must have missed a call to the aircraft [airplane] ahead of him," which had been instructed to hold short of the upcoming taxiway. His airplane impacted the empennage of the stopped airplane that was holding short. 

His airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing, and the stopped airplane sustained substantial damage to the empennage. 

Both pilots reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with their airplane's that would have precluded normal operation.

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N2242W

AIRCRAFT LEASING & MANAGEMENT LLC:   http://registry.faa.gov/N3242

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA San Diego FSDO-09

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA077A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 22, 2016 in San Diego, CA
Aircraft: CURTISS WRIGHT TRAVEL AIR 4000, registration: N3242
Injuries: 5 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 of the tailwheel equipped airplane reported that he was cleared to taxi to the departure runway. He added that while taxiing he was doing S-turns to see over the nose of his airplane, and "must have missed a call to the aircraft [airplane] ahead of him," which had been instructed to hold short of the upcoming taxiway. His airplane impacted the empennage of the stopped airplane that was holding short.

His airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing, and the stopped airplane sustained substantial damage to the empennage. 


Both pilots reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with their airplane's that would have precluded normal operation.

Robinson R22, N7158S: Incident occurred November 23, 2016 in Kapolei, Hawaii

ALOHA LEASING OF HAWAII AIRCRAFT LLC:   http://registry.faa.gov/N7158S

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Honolulu FSDO-13

N7158S ROBINSON R22 ROTORCRAFT ON LANDING SUSTAINED MINOR DAMAGE, KAPOLEI, HAWAII

Date: 23-NOV-16
Time: 00:30:00Z
Regis#: N7158S
Aircraft Make: ROBINSON
Aircraft Model: R22
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Activity: Instruction
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: KAPOLEI
State: Hawaii

Piper PA-38-112, Engineering & Automation Services Inc., N2456D: Incident occurred November 22, 2016 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana

ENGINEERING & AUTOMATION SERVICES INC:   http://registry.faa.gov/N2456D

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Indianapolis FSDO-11

AIRCRAFT ON TAXI, PROPELLER STRUCK THE TAXIWAY, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA 

Date: 22-NOV-16
Time: 20:15:00Z
Regis#: N2456D
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA38
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
City: INDIANAPOLIS
State: Indiana

Cessna 172S Skyhawk, Textron Aviation Employees Flying Club Inc., N746DW: Incident occurred November 21, 2016 in Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas

TEXTRON AVIATION EMPLOYEES FLYING CLUB INC:   http://registry.faa.gov/N746DW

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Wichita FSDO-64

AIRCRAFT ON LANDING WENT OFF THE RUNWAY AND STRUCK A RUNWAY LIGHT, WICHITA, KANSAS

Date: 21-NOV-16
Time: 19:45:00Z
Regis#: N746DW
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Activity: Instruction
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: WICHITA
State: Kansas

Vans RV-9A, N19HV: Incident occurred November 22, 2016 in Shelton, Mason County, Washington

http://registry.faa.gov/N19HV

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Seattle FSDO-01

AIRCRAFT ON LANDING, GEAR COLLAPSED, SHELTON, WASHINGTON

Date: 22-NOV-16
Time: 00:30:00Z
Regis#: N19HV
Aircraft Make: VANS
Aircraft Model: RV9
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: SHELTON
State: Washington

The history of 2 forgotten Katy airports: Lite-Flite Ultraport and Franz Airfield

More than 30 airports in the Greater Houston area have been forgotten, according to pilot Paul Freeman. He operates the Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields website, which lists two abandoned Katy airports: Lite-Flite Ultraport and Franz Airfield.

Freeman, an aerospace engineer and personal aviation hobbyist for 21 years, said he started the website 17 years ago as of a result of his interests and out of self-preservation.

“If there’s a runway that still exists somewhere that’s abandoned, the [Federal Aviation Administration] depicts those on aeronautical charts because that might be useable in an emergency for an aircraft,” he said.

According to Freeman, a Virginia resident, the website has grown to include about 2,100 airfields in all 50 states since 1999. Website visitors make suggestions and contribute materials, and Freeman does further research and gathering before typing up an entry.

“It’s a very collaborative venture,” he said.



Lite-Flite Ultraport

Larry Haskins said his father, Norman Haskins, owned and operated Lite-Flite Ultraport in western Katy from the late 1970s until the mid-1980s.

Andrew Haskins, Larry’s son and Norman’s grandson, said Ultraport combines the words airport and ultralights. Andrew described the ultralight as “a hang glider with an engine”—a class of aircraft that Freeman said was most popular in the 1970s and 1980s because they are lightweight, affordable and do not require an operator to have a pilot’s license.

Larry said Norman leased the land on which the ultraport sat and constructed a facility from which to assemble, sell and repair ultralight aircrafts in addition to providing hangar space for patrons and offering instructional courses. Norman also sublet additional space to a Spitfire ultralight manufacturer, Larry said.

Both Andrew and Larry said ultralights earned a reputation for being dangerous machines. When the fad ended in the mid-1980s, Norman closed down the dealership and airport and built a go-kart track in its place.



Franz Airfield/King Air Airfield

Freeman said his research indicates the Franz Airfield operated between the mid-1950s to sometime in the 1980s or 1990s. Unlike Lite-Flite, it probably was not used by the general public, he said.

“I think it was basically just a private airfield with a couple hangars,” Freeman said. “It’s the kind of place where there may have just been a couple of folks who flew their planes from it: the property owner and then some of their buddies.”

According to Freeman’s research, the earliest depiction he has located of the airfield was on the 1956 U.S. Geological Survey topographical map. The earliest photo he found was from 1958, showing the airfield as having two unpaved runways intersecting in an ‘X’-shape and surrounded by four small buildings.

Freeman said the airfield probably was renamed sometime between 1964 and 1971 as the 1971 USGS topographical map labeled the site as King Landing Strip. It had just a single unpaved runway running northwest-to-southeast.

He said the site likely closed some time between 1981 and 1995. Modern photos suggest the Grand Parkway was built directly through the airfield, a phenomenon that Freeman said is far too common in general aviation.

“Our nation loses a lot of airports every year,” he said. “The continual urban [and] suburban sprawl eats up a lot of suburban airports.”

Source:  https://communityimpact.com

New air ambulance means quicker response time

From left, Atmore Fire Department Lt. Wayne Kelley, Capt. Daniel Love and firefighters Jake Lambert and Jesse Boone examine the new Medstar air ambulance.



Emergency responders in Atmore and the surrounding area have a new tool that will help lessen the time it takes to provide preliminary treatment to a seriously injured person and to get that person to a medical facility.

Medstar EMS recently unveiled its sleek Medstar Air Care 1, a Bell 407 GXP air ambulance that can reach speeds of up to 150 miles per hour and significantly cut response times for calls in the area.

“It will be a lot closer to us,” noted Atmore Fire Chief Ron Peebles of the new emergency medical transport, which will be stationed at Stapleton Volunteer Fire Department until a permanent base is constructed in Robertsdale. “It has about an eight-minute response time to us and it will give us more options when we have a bad wreck or other incident where we need a medical helicopter.”

Chad Jones, program manager for Medstar, said the total response time would actually be a little longer than the chief’s estimate, but not much.

“I don’t think it will be that way all the time,” Jones said. “We’ll probably be in the air only eight minutes, but we’ll probably average 10-11 minutes, depending on the wind, from the time the skids come up until it touches down. Once we get to the scene, we have to recon the area and find a place to land, and that will probably take a minute or two.”

He admitted that the sleek chopper, which he called “the sports car of helicopters,” would be a marvel for those watching it speed across the sky and maneuver its way to the site of an emergency.

“It’s a crowd-pleaser, and sometimes you’ve got to please the crowd,” he said. “But we want to be proud of the care we provide.”

Jones added that the $3 million medical helicopter would be the closest air asset to this area and would be equipped to handle most medical emergencies.

The copter’s crew will include the pilot, along with a critical care nurse and a paramedic. He reiterated that it would be able to evacuate injured persons and get them to a hospital in a lot less time than would a ground ambulance.

“We can get a patient to a medical facility in half the time or less than it takes to drive,” he said. “We bring an advanced level of care, and we bring it fast.”

Source:  http://www.atmorenews.com

How much should air traffic controllers trust new flight management systems?



With airfares at their lowest point in seven years and airlines adding capacity, this year’s Thanksgiving air travel is slated to be 2.5 percent busier than last year. Between Nov. 18 and 29, 27.3 million Americans are expected to take to the skies.

The system we use to coordinate all those flights carrying all those Thanksgiving travelers through the air is decades old, and mostly depends on highly trained air traffic controllers, who keep track of where all the planes are, where they’re heading, how fast they’re going and at what altitude.

As the national airspace gets more crowded, and as technology improves, the Federal Aviation Administration has begun upgrading the air traffic control systems. The new system is called NextGen, and some of its capabilities are already being rolled out across the country. It is intended to make air traffic faster, more efficient, more cost-effective and even, through fuel savings, less damaging to the environment. It will also help air traffic controllers and pilots alike handle potential hazards, whether they involve weather, other aircraft or equipment problems.

But we the traveling public will be able to realize all these benefits only if the air traffic controllers of the future make the most of the technology. As a human factors researcher, seeking to understand how people interact within complex systems, I have found that there are challenges for controllers learning to properly trust the computer systems keeping America in the air.

Use as directed

The NextGen system is designed for humans and computers to work in tandem. For example, one element involves air traffic controllers and pilots exchanging digital text messages between the tower and airplane computer systems, as opposed to talking over the radio. This arrangement has several benefits, including eliminating the possibility someone might mishear a garbled radio transmission.

Human controllers will still give routing instructions to human pilots, but computers monitoring the airspace can keep an eye on where planes are, and automatically compare that to where they are supposed to be, as well as how close they get to each other. The automated conflict detection tools can alert controllers to possible trouble and offer safer alternatives.

In addition, air crews will be able to follow routing instructions more quickly, accepting the digital command from the ground directly into the plane’s navigation system. This, too, requires human trust in automated systems. That is not as simple as it might sound.

Trust in automation

When the people who operate automated tools aren’t properly informed about their equipment – including what exactly it can and cannot do – problems arise. When humans expect computerized systems to be more reliable than they are, tragedy can result. For example, the owner killed in the fatal Tesla crash while in autopilot mode may have become overreliant on the technology or used it in a way beyond how it was intended. Making sure human expectations match technical abilities is called “calibration.”

When the people and the machinery are properly calibrated to each other, trust can develop. That’s what happened over the course of a 16-week course training air traffic controller students on a desktop air traffic control simulator.

Researchers typically measure trust in automated systems by asking questions about the operator’s evaluations of the system’s integrity, the operator’s confidence in using the system and how dependable the operator thinks the system is. There are several types of questionnaires that ask these sorts of questions; one of them, a trust scale aimed at the air traffic management system as a whole, was particularly sensitive to discerning changing trust in the student group I studied.

I asked the air traffic controller students about their trust in the automated tools such as those provided by NextGen on the first day, at the midterm exam in week nine of their course, and at the final exam at the end of the training. Overall, the students’ trust in the system increased, though some trusted it more than others.

Too much trust, or too little?

There is such a thing as trusting technology too much. In this study, some students, who trusted the system more, were actually less aware than their less trusting classmates of what was going on in the airspace during simulated scenarios at the final exam with lots of air traffic. One possible explanation could be that those with more trust in the system became complacent and did not bother expending the effort to keep their own independent view (or “maintain the picture,” as air traffic controllers say).

These more trusting students might have been more vulnerable to errors if the automation required them to manually intervene. Correlation analyses suggested that students with more trust were less likely to engage in what might be called “nontrusting” behaviors, like overriding the automation. For example, they were less likely to step in and move aircraft that the automated conflict detection tools determined were far enough apart, even if they personally thought the planes were too close together. That showed they were relying on the automation appropriately.

These trust disparities and their effects became clear only at the final exam. This suggests that as they became familiar with the technology, students’ trust in the systems and their actions when using it changed.

Previous research has shown that providing specific training in trusting the automation may reduce students’ likelihood of engaging in nontrusting behaviors. Training should aim to make trainees more aware of their potential to overly trust the system, to ensure they remain aware of critical information. Only when the users properly trust the system – neither too much nor too little – will the public benefits of NextGen truly be available to us all.

Original article can be found here:   http://theconversation.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cops say buzzed pilot buzzed beach

Jimmie A. Smith






Police have charged a 66-year-old Crawfordville man who piloted an Ultralight that careened into an Alligator Point woman in June along the beach, causing serious injuries, with operating an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Jimmie A. Smith was arrested Nov. 8 for a a third degree felony of having flown an aircraft recklessly or while intoxicated, after blood test results came back that showed he was likely drunk, plus possibly stoned on pot and sedatives on Friday afternoon, June 3, when he flipped 52-year-old Nonda Meng on the back of her neck as she ran from his out-of-control aircraft.

Meng sustained seven fractured right ribs, four of them broken in two places, as well as a fracture of a neck bone in her spinal column and a collapsed right lung, according to a report compiled by Lt. R. J. Shelley of the county sheriff’s office.

In addition to obtaining reports of eyewitnesses who said they saw the right tip of Smith’s aircraft catch the water and cartwheel on to the beach, Shelley was able to secure County Judge Van Russell’s permission to search the aircraft.

Commonly known as a “Fat Ultralight,” the aircraft is classified one rung above the most basic, lightest, unlicensed five-gallon version of these planes. These planes carry more gas, are heavier than 254 pounds, and are required to have an FAA issued registration certificate, an air worthiness certificate and an FAA issued pilot license to fly.

In his warranted search a week after the mishap, Shelley recovered 170 videos and 13 photographs from a memory card found with the digital camera mounted on the plane.

The videos showed, according to Shelley’s report, that the aircraft had flown at various altitudes, sometimes as low as 15 feet off the ground, prior to the 3:50 p.m. mishap.

“Prior to the crash, Mr. Smith is flying at what appears to be a high-safe altitude over the open water,” read the report. “Mr. Smith makes a left turn towards the beach. He then appears to be approximately 10 feet off the surface of the water. The right wing then touches the water and turns the aircraft hard to the right.

“Ms. Meng can be seen trying to run away from the aircraft before it reaches her,” wrote Shelley. “The right wing then strikes Ms. Meng on the right shoulder, causing her to leave her feet, flipping her backwards. Ms. Meng appears to land on the back of her neck.”

Shelley’s description said the plane nosed into the sand, ejecting the pilot about 15 feet. “Mr. Smith then crawls back towards the plane, using it to pull himself up. Mr. Smith then falls before finally making it to his feet, to turn the aircraft off,” wrote the lieutenant.

The pilot’s behavior following the crash is described in the police report as being “loud and argumentative with a paramedic.” The report said Smith’s left heel had been cut badly “and looked to almost be amputated,” and his forehead was cut where he had hit his head.

Smith smelled of alcohol as well. “The paramedic pulled me to the side and stated that he didn’t believe Mr. Smith could decide for himself if he needed medical attention,” wrote Shelley.

After Smith refused medical attention, the Weems paramedic called the medical director, who told him Smith had no choice in the matter. The EMS crew loaded Smith into an ambulance to the Panacea airport, where Smith refused Lifeflight and had to be transported by ambulance to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Meng was also rushed to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

Shelley, who arrived on the scene at 1480 Alligator Drive at 5:12 p.m., about an hour after first responders first arrived, reported Smith had said he “was sorry for hitting the woman. He stated that he felt badly.”

The report indicates Smith was uncooperative when asked about his pilot’s license.

In his examination of the video recovered in the search, Shelley wrote that based on time stamps, Smith was seen “messing with the aircraft windshield” at 4:09 p.m., about 19 minutes after the crash occurred.

“At 4:17 p.m., Mr. Smith is seen drinking what appears to be water from a water bottle,” read the report. “Mr. Smith unmounts the camera, (and) can be heard telling (Alligator Point Fire) Chief (Steve) Fling he’s ok. At 4:52 p.m. a bystander is heard saying ‘There’s probably alcohol in there.’”

Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer Ryan Miller also responded to the call, as did Deputy Kevin Shuman.’ Miller collected sworn statements from two eyewitnesses, Jeremy C. Stephens and Robert D. Heins, the latter of which described how the plane had cartwheeled onto the beach after the tip of its right wing caught the water.

In addition to his review of the video evidence, Shelley subpoenaed Smith’s 435-page medical record from TMH. The records said when Smith was admitted, he had “apparent intoxication with alcohol and marijuana." A 7 p.m. blood draw determined an alcohol level of 0.184, more than double the level considered impaired for motorists. A urine screen conducted at about 10 p.m. was positive for cannabinoids (pot) and benzodiazepines (a sedative found in Valium, Xanax and several other similar pharmaceuticals.)

An exam at 6:30 a.m. the next morning found Smith “was still uncooperative and argumentative,” read the report.

Smith, who was released on $15,000 bond and has not sought a public defender, has a court date of Dec. 5 before Circuit Judge Terry Lewis.

Source:   http://www.apalachtimes.com

Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage, Flying Colors Aviation LLC, N962DA: Fatal accident occurred May 07, 2015 in Spokane, Washington

Widow of pilot killed in Felts Field crash sues aircraft manufacturer, alleging flawed design

Richard Lewis "Rich" Runyon


Lyndon "Lyn" Amestoy


The wife of one of the men who died in a plane crash near Felts Field last year has filed a lawsuit this month against the companies that built and maintained the airplane, alleging the design was flawed.

Lyndon Amestoy was a passenger in the plane, which was piloted by Richard Runyon. Both men were employees of Rocket Engineering. They were taking the Piper PA-46 350P on a post-inspection test flight after repairs had been made.

There were control problems shortly after take off on May 7, 2015, and Runyon called in an emergency to Felts Field. He was trying to return for a landing when the plane veered out of control and crashed in the Spokane River.

The National Transportation Safety Board ruled this fall that the plane’s cables that controlled banking and turning were improperly installed.

The lawsuit alleges that Piper Aircraft, which built the plane, and Spokane-based JetProp LLC, which maintained it, should have known that the design of the airplane was flawed. According to the lawsuit, similar crashes involving improperly installed aileron control cables have happened in Piper PA-31 aircraft, which have the same system as the PA-46.

Aviation regulations require that elements of the flight control systems must be well marked and distinctive. Instead the cables and bolts were all identical, which allowed them to be installed backwards without anyone detecting the error, the lawsuit states.

Piper Aircraft and JetProp LLC did not return calls seeking comment.

Source:   http://www.spokesman.com


Lyndon "Lyn" Amestoy




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

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

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


FLYING COLORS AVIATION LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N962DA 

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA158
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 07, 2015 in Spokane, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/22/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA 46 350P, registration: N962DA
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

The commercial pilot was departing on a local post-maintenance test flight in the single-engine airplane; Four aileron cables had been replaced during the maintenance. Shortly after takeoff, the airplane began to roll right. As the climb progressed, the roll became more pronounced, and the airplane entered a spiraling dive. The pilot was able to maintain partial control after losing about 700 ft of altitude; he guided the airplane away from the airport and then gradually back for a landing approach. During this period, he reported to air traffic control personnel that the airplane had a "heavy right aileron." As the airplane passed over the runway threshold, it rolled right and crashed into a river adjacent to the runway. 

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the aileron balance and drive cables in the right wing had been misrouted and interchanged at the wing root. Under this condition, both the left and right ailerons would have deflected in the same direction rather than differentially. Therefore, once airborne, the pilot was effectively operating with minimal and most likely unpredictable lateral control, which would have been exacerbated by wind gusts and propeller torque and airflow effects.

The sections of the two interchanged cables within the wing were about equal lengths, used the same style and size of termination swages, and were installed into two same-shape and -size receptacles in the aileron sector wheel. In combination, this design most likely permitted the inadvertent interchange of the cables, without any obvious visual cues to maintenance personnel to suggest a misrouting. The maintenance manual contained specific and bold warnings concerning the potential for cable reversal.

Although the misrouting error should have been obvious during the required post-maintenance aileron rigging or function checks, the error was not detected by the installing mechanic. Although the installing mechanic reported that he had another mechanic verify the aileron functionality, that other mechanic denied that he was asked or that he conducted such a check. The mechanic who performed the work also signed off on the inspection; this is allowed per Federal regulations, which do not require an independent inspection by someone who did not perform the maintenance.

The pilot did perform a preflight check; the preflight checklist included confirmation of "proper operation" of the primary flight controls from within the cockpit. Although the low-wing airplane did not easily allow for a differential check of the ailerons during the walk-around, both ailerons could be seen from the pilot's seat; therefore, the pilot should have been able to recognize that the ailerons were not operating differentially.

The accident occurred at the end of the business day, and the airplane had been undergoing maintenance for a longer-than-anticipated period. The airplane's owner was flying in from another part of the country via a commercial airline to pick up the airplane the following morning. The accident pilot, who was an engineer at the company and typically flew post-maintenance test flights, was assisting with returning the airplane to service. He also had an appointment with an FAA medical examiner the next morning (Friday), and he typically did not work on Fridays. It is likely that the mechanic and pilot felt some pressure to be finished that day so the owner could depart in the morning and the pilot could attend his appointment.

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

The mechanic's incorrect installation of two aileron cables and the subsequent inadequate functional checks of the aileron system before flight by both the mechanic and the pilot, which prevented proper roll control from the cockpit, resulting in the pilot's subsequent loss of control during flight. Contributing to the accident was the mechanic's and the pilot's self-induced pressure to complete the work that day.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 7, 2015, at 1604 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA 46-350P, N962DA, struck the Spokane River following an attempted landing at Felts Field Airport, Spokane, Washington. The airplane was owned by Flying Colors Aviation LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot and pilot rated passenger sustained fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed during the impact sequence. The local flight departed Felts Field at 1553. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

The airplane had just undergone an annual inspection at the facilities of Rocket Engineering, and the accident flight was to be a post-maintenance test flight. Both the pilot and passenger were employees of Rocket Engineering, and the planned flight time was about 40 minutes.

Audio and radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) captured the entire flight sequence. The accident was also observed by multiple witnesses at the airport, along with air traffic control personnel in the control tower.

The pilot specifically requested to depart from the longer Runway 4L, and 11 minutes after making the initial call, the airplane began the takeoff roll. Radar data indicated that almost immediately after takeoff it began a climbing turn, 10 degrees to the right. After flying on that heading for about 1.5 miles, the airplane began a more aggressive turn to the right, reaching 1,000 ft above ground level (agl) while on a southbound heading. The sound of labored breathing was then transmitted over the traffic advisory frequency, and the tower controller asked if everything was ok, to which the pilot responded, "That's negative". The airplane's turn radius then tightened to about 700 ft, and within about 45 seconds it completed almost two spiraling turns, while descending about 700 ft. Control tower personnel stated that during this period the airplane was banking about 90 degrees to the right and descending, and they assumed that it was about to crash. A short time later the bank angle began to reduce, and the airplane appeared to recover.

The airplane then began a meandering climb to the east, and about 2 1/2 minutes later the pilot reported, "We are trying to get under control here, be back with you".

The airplane eventually reached the town of Newman Lake, about 11 miles east of the airport, having climbed to about 5,600 ft mean sea level (4,000 ft agl), and the pilot reported, "things seem to be stabilizing", and when asked his intentions by the tower controller he replied, "We are going to stay out here for a little while and play with things a little bit, and see if we can get back."

The airplane began a gradual left turn, and the pilot requested and was approved for a straight-in landing for runway 22R. The airplane became aligned with the runway about 7 miles east of the airport, and a short time later the controller asked the pilot the nature of the emergency, to which he responded, "We have a control emergency there, a hard right aileron". The flight progressed, and a few minutes later the pilot reported that the airplane was on a 3 mile final. The airplane remained closely aligned with the runway centerline throughout the remaining descent, and control tower personnel stated that when the airplane neared the runway threshold it appeared to be flying in a 20-degrees, right-wing-low, attitude.

A tower controller reported that as the still-airborne airplane passed taxiway D, the engine sound changed, as if it was attempting to perform a go-around, and the airplane began a sharp roll to the right. It subsequently collided with the river just north of the airport.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot-in-command, who was seated in the left front seat, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, multiengine land, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane and helicopter, along with a flight instructor certificate for airplane single engine land. He also held a repairman, experimental builder certificate, and was rated in the Bell 212 helicopter, and Lockheed L-382 (C-130 Hercules) airplane.

His most recent FAA medical certificate was second class, and dated May 17, 2013, with the limitation that he must have available glasses for near vision. He was 64 years old. Representatives from Rocket Engineering stated the pilot had an appointment for his FAA medical examination at 0800 on the morning following the accident (Friday), and therefore chose to do the flight test that evening instead of the following day. The pilot's wife also stated that he typically did not work on Fridays, but would do so if work schedule required it.

The pilot had accumulated about 5,800 hours of total pilot-in-command flight time, 950 of which were in the accident make and model. He had flown about 20 hours in the accident make and model during the 30 day period leading up to the accident.

He was a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, with 20 years of active service in the capacity of a test pilot, instructor, and search and rescue pilot.

The pilot was employed as an Engineer for Rocket Engineering, and was the primary liaison with the FAA's Flight Standards and Certification divisions. He also typically performed post-conversion, post-maintenance, and customer familiarization flights for the company.

The pilot-rated-passenger held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating, issued in 2010. He had accumulated a total of about 122 hour's pilot-in-command flight experience.

He was employed at Rocket Engineering as a customer service and sales representative.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The six-seat, low-wing, pressurized airplane was originally manufactured by Piper in 1996 as a PA-46-350P. At that time it was equipped with a Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A, 350 horsepower turbocharged piston engine. In 2007 it was modified by Rocket Engineering under the JetProp LLC supplemental type certificate ST00541SE, which included the installation of a 560 horsepower Pratt and Whitney PT6A-35 turboprop engine.

The airplane was brought to the facilities of Rocket Engineering on April 17 for an annual inspection. During the period leading up to the accident, routine maintenance was performed, along with the replacement of the four aileron cables in the wings, and an aft elevator cable. The mechanic who performed the work stated that the aileron and elevator cables were replaced during the 3 day period leading up to the accident.

The airplane's owner arranged for another maintenance facility on the field to perform an avionics upgrade concurrent with the inspection, while the airplane was still at the Rocket Engineering facilities. The president of the company that performed the avionics upgrade informed the owner that it would take about 40 to 45 hours to complete, over the course of about 18 days. The upgrade included the addition of several new avionics units, and according to the mechanic who performed the work, most was performed in the rear avionics bay, and required the removal of the aft headliner, along with the middle and rear seats on the right side in order to accommodate new electrical cable runs. The avionics shop president stated that as the upgrade progressed, the owner made multiple requests to add additional items to the work scope, and due to time constraints, not all of his requests could be accommodated.

The airplane's owner reported that he had made arrangements to pick up the airplane on May 5th, however as the work progressed, he was informed that the airplane would not be ready in time, and the date was pushed back to May 7 (accident day) and then May 8. He had made plans to travel up from Los Angeles the afternoon of May 7, and was enroute via a commercial airline when the accident happened.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The weather conditions reported at Spokane at 1553 were winds from 020 degrees at 7 knots, 10 miles visibility with few clouds at 7,000 ft. The temperature was 71 degrees F, the dew point was 26 degrees F, and the altimeter pressure was 29.93 inHg.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The river was about 25 ft deep at the accident site, and all major airframe components sank within a few minutes of impact. The airplane was recovered by a diving team from the Spokane County Sheriff's department over a 2 day period during the week following the accident.

The fuselage sustained crush damage and fragmentation from the firewall through to the right-side emergency exit door. The engine remained attached to the firewall, and the propeller hub with all four blades remained attached to the engine gearbox. All blades were bent about 90 degrees aft, 8 to 12 inches from their roots. Both wings had separated from the airframe at their roots, with the right wing separating into two sections outboard of the main landing gear. The horizontal stabilizer had detached from the tailcone.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Spokane County Office of the Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on both pilots. The deaths were both attributed to the effects of multiple blunt force injuries.

Toxicological tests on specimens recovered from both occupants were performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI). Analysis revealed negative findings for ingested ethanol, with the following positive drug findings:

Pilot:

>> 10 (ug/ml, ug/g) Acetaminophen detected in Urine
>> Ranitidine detected in Urine
>> Ranitidine detected in Blood (Cavity)

Acetaminophen is a common-over-the-counter analgesic/antipyretic, and Ranitidine is an anti-histamine used in the treatment of gastric acid secretion. According to CAMI, neither of the drugs detected would have been considered hazardous to flight safety.

Pilot Rated Passenger:

>> Dextromethorphan detected in Urine
>> Dextromethorphan NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
>> Dextrorphan detected in Urine
>> Dextrorphan NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
>> Famotidine detected in Urine
>> Famotidine detected in Blood (Cavity)
>> Salicylate detected in Urine

Dextromethorphan, is a cough suppressant, commonly used in over the counter preparations. It is metabolized into dextrorphan, which also has cough suppressant property.

Famotidine (INN) is a histamine H2-receptor antagonist that inhibits stomach acid production, it is commonly marketed under the trade names Pepcidine and Pepcid.

Salicylate is an over the counter analgesic used in the treatment of mild pain.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Flight Control System Design

The airplane's primary flight controls are conventional, and operated by dual control wheels and rudder pedals through a closed circuit cable system. The ailerons and rudder are interconnected through a spring system located under the main cabin.

An aileron is mounted on the outboard trailing-edge section of each wing via a series of hinges. Movement of each aileron is controlled through a yoke and pin assembly which interfaces with a sector wheel mounted in each wing, just forward of each aileron. Each sector wheel is connected to, and driven by, one aileron drive cable and one balance cable. In each wing, both the balance and drive cables are terminated with identical ball swage fittings, and each swage fitting inserts into one of two identically-sized receptacles in the sector wheel. Both cables are approximately the same length outboard of the pressure vessel seals, which are located about 1 inch apart vertically at the wing root.

In each wing, both cables are routed to the fuselage along the wing trailing edge, and pass through their respective pressure vessel seals in the wing root. Inboard of the pressure vessel seals, the left and right balance cables connect to one another after passing through a center pulley, while the drive cables are routed forward via pulleys to the control wheel assembly in the cockpit. The balance and drive cables are aligned vertically at the pressure vessel seals, and diverge about 3 inches laterally at their respective pulley positions.

The sector wheel design is unique within the Piper fleet to the PA-46.

Control System Examination

The airplane was subject to a series of Piper Aircraft Service Bulletins and Service Letters related to the aileron flight controls.

The aileron control system was examined and found to be in compliance with Piper Service Bulletins 921 and 1190B, which require the installation of cable guards and doublers, respectively"

Piper Service Letter 1131 described cleaning and lubrication procedures for the self-aligning and needle bearings of the outboard aileron sector wheel. Both bearings for the left and right sector wheels appeared intact, and moved freely without any indication of binding.

The outboard section of the right wing had separated, but retained its aileron. A cable remained attached to the lower balance cable attach point of the aileron sector wheel. However, a tag on the cable identified it as part number "5038", which according to Piper maintenance instructions, was the aileron drive cable. The cable was routed over the outboard balance cable pulley, and then through the balance cable pass-through holes along the trailing edge. That cable continued after passing into the fuselage at the balance cable pressure vessel seal. Inboard of the seal, the cable was found to be routed around the right side drive pulley, and forward to the aileron quadrant assembly in the cockpit. Therefore, while the cable tag identified it as a drive cable, and it was properly routed and connected as a drive cable inside the pressure vessel, once it reached the pressure vessel seals, it was incorrectly routed and followed the balance cable path through the wings.

No cable was found attached to the drive section of the right aileron sector wheel. Examination of the remaining cable sections found in the wing revealed that a cable marked with the part number "5036" (right hand aileron balance cable) was routed through the drive cable pressure vessel seal. Inboard of the seal, the cable was connected to the left wing balance cable.

With the as-discovered cable routing, movement of the control wheel would result in the right aileron deflecting in the same direction as the left aileron, rather than in the opposite (per design) direction. No post-accident testing in this configuration was performed, so the extent of the deflection could not be determined.

The rudder trim wheel indicator in the cabin was found in the full left position. Examination of the remaining flight controls did not reveal any anomalies which would have precluded normal operation. A full examination report is contained in the public docket.

Maintenance Procedures

The mechanic who performed and signed off on the annual inspection, along with the subsequent maintenance including the control cable replacement, held an FAA airframe and powerplant certificate (A&P), with inspection authorization (IA). He had been an A&P mechanic for 22 years, and attained his IA rating 17 years prior. He reported replacing aileron cables in the PA-46 series about five prior times in his career.

He stated that he worked exclusively on the accident airplane during the weeks leading up to the accident, and that he replaced the left and right aileron balance cables, along with the two aft aileron drive cables on May 5, 6 and 7. He reported replacing the cables in accordance with the procedures outlined in the maintenance manual, and that he removed and replaced each cable one-at-a-time to prevent inadvertent misrouting. Following completion, he checked aileron operation from both inside and outside the airplane, confirming smooth and full deflection. As part of the test procedures, he checked the neutral position on both ailerons, and then he used a protractor for angular aileron deflection measurements.

The installing mechanic reported that once the work was completed, he asked another mechanic to check his work, asking him specifically to confirm the operation of the ailerons. In a subsequent interview, the other mechanic stated that he assisted with reattaching the ailerons, along with checking security and installation of safety wire, but he was never asked to, nor did he, confirm the correct operation of the ailerons.

The installing mechanic stated that he was called multiple times by the airplanes owner for update checks during the weeks leading up to the accident. Each time additional items were discovered which needed to be repaired, further pushing back the completion date. He eventually referred the owner to the sales representative (pilot rated passenger).

Maintenance Manual

The Piper Maintenance Manual utilized by the mechanic, and applicable to the accident aircraft, was examined at the facilities of Rocket Engineering. The Aileron Control Cables, Rigging and Adjustment section, dated December 23, 1998 included the following warning:

CAUTION:

VERIFY FREE AND CORRECT MOVEMENT OF AILERONS. WHILE IT WOULD SEEM SELF-EVIDENT, FIELD EXPERIENCE HAS SHOWN THAT THIS CHECK IS FREQUENTLY MISINTERPRETED OR NOT PERFORMED AT ALL. ACCORDINGLY, UPON COMPLETION OF AILERON RIGGING AND ADJUSTMENT, VERIFY THAT THE RIGHT AILERON MOVES UP AND THE LEFT AILERON MOVES DOWN WHEN THE CONTROL WHEEL IS TURNED RIGHT, AND THAT THE LEFT AILERON MOVES UP AND THE RIGHT AILERON MOVES DOWN WHEN THE CONTROL WHEEL IS TURNED LEFT.

Pilot Operating Handbook

The preflight checklist outlined in the normal procedures section of the pilot's operating handbook, includes a check to confirm "proper operation" of the primary flight controls from within the cockpit, along with a check of the ailerons and hinges during the walk-around. According to the mechanic, the pilot performed the preflight inspection while the mechanic was still reinstalling the seats and readying the cabin.

The location of the pilot's seat within the cockpit allows for a clear view of both ailerons through the cabin windows.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

At the time of the accident, Rocket Engineering had a set of inspection criteria in place for aircraft that had undergone heavy modifications such as the application of the JetProp STC. However, no formal procedures were established requiring that the work performed by a mechanic following an annual inspection be independently inspected. Furthermore, although 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 and 135 (air carrier, commuter, or on-demand operations) state, in part that, "No person may perform a required inspection if that person performed the item of work required to be inspected," there is no equivalent requirement for aircraft operated under Part 91 regulations.

No PA-46 accidents attributed to the reversal of the aileron cables were found in the NTSB accident database, nor did a search of FAA service difficulty reports (SDR's) reveal any events. SPOKANE, Wash. - Two men who died in a Spokane plane crash back in 2015 lost their lives as the result of a mechanic's mistake, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board. 

The privately owned Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage rolled into the Spokane River while it was trying to make an emergency landing at Felts Field. 

First and foremost, the NTSB blamed Rocket Engineering, a tenant here at Felts Field, for improperly installing a pair of cables that controlled the plane's ailerons. 

The Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage was getting its annual inspection and investigators think Rocket's mechanic and test pilot may have been in a hurry to get the work complete and return the plane to their customer.

Test pilot Richard Runyon had trouble steering the ill-fated plane as soon as it lifted off the runway. Air traffic controllers saw the Piper roll to the right and lose 700 feet of altitude before Runyon was able to pull out of the spiraling dive. The tower radioed Runyon, asking if everything was OK. Runyon replied, “That's negative.”

Runyon's years behind the yoke in the Air Force and as a commercial pilot had bought himself some time to figure out what was wrong.

“If you have any kind of emergency situation, the first thing you want to do is continue to fly the plane,” flight instructor Rick Webber told KXLY4 in May 2015.

Runyon then realized the controls that allow the plane to bank through turns wasn't working properly. On his radio, he declared 'We have a control emergency there, a hard right aileron.”

Runyon and his fellow pilot passenger, Lyn Amestoy, were back over the airport when they lost control during their landing and slammed into the river.

“There was no sign of people on the surface having exited the plane,” Spokane Valley Deputy Fire Chief Andy Hail said shortly after the crash occurred.

When divers helped to pull the piper from 25 feet of water, investigators found the cables controlling the right aileron had been improperly installed.

In the days after the crash, other felts pilots remembered the victims as skilled, conscientious fliers.

“Aviation, by nature, is a very unforgiving venue,” pilot Addison Pemberton told KXLY4 in May 2015. “So anyone in this industry is going to be very safety conscious.”

Rocket Engineering did not return our phone call for comment.

Survivors of at least one of the crash victims have retained an attorney to help them be compensated for their loss.

The NTSB feels this crash could have been easily prevented. The next time a mechanic is working your car, or plane, give them the time they need and whenever possible, double-check whatever parts have been repaired or replaced.       

Story and video:  http://www.kxly.com

Lyndon "Lyn" Amestoy

Richard Lewis "Rich" Runyon

Lyndon "Lyn" Amestoy



A report from the National Transportation Safety Board found the cause of a plane crash in the Spokane River last year.

Two men died when the plane they were flying crash landed into the Spokane River on May 8, 2015 around 4:05 p.m.

Spokane Co. deputy medical investigator, Jim Uttke, identified the two men as Lyndon Amestoy and Richard Runyon at the time.

The NTSB report does not name the two men, though it explains the pilot-in-command had more the 5,800 hours of total flight time and was a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. The other man in the plane held a private pilot certificate, but was not the pilot-in-command.

According to the NTSB report, post-accident examination of the plane found that the aileron balance and drive cables in the right wing had been misrouted and interchanged. The aileron is a hinged surface in the trailing edge of an airplane wing, used to control lateral balance.

The report said both the left and right ailerons would have deflected in the same direction rather than differentially.

“Therefore, once airborne, the pilot was effectively operating with minimal and most likely unpredictable lateral control,” according to the report. “Which would have been exacerbated by wind gusts and propeller torque and airflow effects.”

On the landing approach, the single-engine airplane rolled right and crashed into the river.

The NTSB report explains that the installing mechanic did not notice the error, nor did another mechanic. The pilot did a pre-flight check of primary flight controls, but it was done from within the cockpit.

“The pilot should have been able to recognize that the ailerons were not operating differentially,” wrote NTSB officials.

The report goes on to say the airplane’s owner was scheduled to fly in to pick up the plane the following morning and the accident pilot – who was an engineer at the company and typically flew post-maintenance flights - was helping to return the plane to service.

"It is likely the mechanic and pilot felt some pressure to be finished that day so the owner could depart in the morning and the pilot could attend his appointment," wrote investigators.

Source:  http://www.krem.com




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

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

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


FLYING COLORS AVIATION LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N962DA 

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA158
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 07, 2015 in Spokane, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/22/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA 46 350P, registration: N962DA
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

The commercial pilot was departing on a local post-maintenance test flight in the single-engine airplane; Four aileron cables had been replaced during the maintenance. Shortly after takeoff, the airplane began to roll right. As the climb progressed, the roll became more pronounced, and the airplane entered a spiraling dive. The pilot was able to maintain partial control after losing about 700 ft of altitude; he guided the airplane away from the airport and then gradually back for a landing approach. During this period, he reported to air traffic control personnel that the airplane had a "heavy right aileron." As the airplane passed over the runway threshold, it rolled right and crashed into a river adjacent to the runway. 

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the aileron balance and drive cables in the right wing had been misrouted and interchanged at the wing root. Under this condition, both the left and right ailerons would have deflected in the same direction rather than differentially. Therefore, once airborne, the pilot was effectively operating with minimal and most likely unpredictable lateral control, which would have been exacerbated by wind gusts and propeller torque and airflow effects.

The sections of the two interchanged cables within the wing were about equal lengths, used the same style and size of termination swages, and were installed into two same-shape and -size receptacles in the aileron sector wheel. In combination, this design most likely permitted the inadvertent interchange of the cables, without any obvious visual cues to maintenance personnel to suggest a misrouting. The maintenance manual contained specific and bold warnings concerning the potential for cable reversal.

Although the misrouting error should have been obvious during the required post-maintenance aileron rigging or function checks, the error was not detected by the installing mechanic. Although the installing mechanic reported that he had another mechanic verify the aileron functionality, that other mechanic denied that he was asked or that he conducted such a check. The mechanic who performed the work also signed off on the inspection; this is allowed per Federal regulations, which do not require an independent inspection by someone who did not perform the maintenance.

The pilot did perform a preflight check; the preflight checklist included confirmation of "proper operation" of the primary flight controls from within the cockpit. Although the low-wing airplane did not easily allow for a differential check of the ailerons during the walk-around, both ailerons could be seen from the pilot's seat; therefore, the pilot should have been able to recognize that the ailerons were not operating differentially.

The accident occurred at the end of the business day, and the airplane had been undergoing maintenance for a longer-than-anticipated period. The airplane's owner was flying in from another part of the country via a commercial airline to pick up the airplane the following morning. The accident pilot, who was an engineer at the company and typically flew post-maintenance test flights, was assisting with returning the airplane to service. He also had an appointment with an FAA medical examiner the next morning (Friday), and he typically did not work on Fridays. It is likely that the mechanic and pilot felt some pressure to be finished that day so the owner could depart in the morning and the pilot could attend his appointment.

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

The mechanic's incorrect installation of two aileron cables and the subsequent inadequate functional checks of the aileron system before flight by both the mechanic and the pilot, which prevented proper roll control from the cockpit, resulting in the pilot's subsequent loss of control during flight. Contributing to the accident was the mechanic's and the pilot's self-induced pressure to complete the work that day.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 7, 2015, at 1604 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA 46-350P, N962DA, struck the Spokane River following an attempted landing at Felts Field Airport, Spokane, Washington. The airplane was owned by Flying Colors Aviation LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot and pilot rated passenger sustained fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed during the impact sequence. The local flight departed Felts Field at 1553. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

The airplane had just undergone an annual inspection at the facilities of Rocket Engineering, and the accident flight was to be a post-maintenance test flight. Both the pilot and passenger were employees of Rocket Engineering, and the planned flight time was about 40 minutes.

Audio and radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) captured the entire flight sequence. The accident was also observed by multiple witnesses at the airport, along with air traffic control personnel in the control tower.

The pilot specifically requested to depart from the longer Runway 4L, and 11 minutes after making the initial call, the airplane began the takeoff roll. Radar data indicated that almost immediately after takeoff it began a climbing turn, 10 degrees to the right. After flying on that heading for about 1.5 miles, the airplane began a more aggressive turn to the right, reaching 1,000 ft above ground level (agl) while on a southbound heading. The sound of labored breathing was then transmitted over the traffic advisory frequency, and the tower controller asked if everything was ok, to which the pilot responded, "That's negative". The airplane's turn radius then tightened to about 700 ft, and within about 45 seconds it completed almost two spiraling turns, while descending about 700 ft. Control tower personnel stated that during this period the airplane was banking about 90 degrees to the right and descending, and they assumed that it was about to crash. A short time later the bank angle began to reduce, and the airplane appeared to recover.

The airplane then began a meandering climb to the east, and about 2 1/2 minutes later the pilot reported, "We are trying to get under control here, be back with you".

The airplane eventually reached the town of Newman Lake, about 11 miles east of the airport, having climbed to about 5,600 ft mean sea level (4,000 ft agl), and the pilot reported, "things seem to be stabilizing", and when asked his intentions by the tower controller he replied, "We are going to stay out here for a little while and play with things a little bit, and see if we can get back."

The airplane began a gradual left turn, and the pilot requested and was approved for a straight-in landing for runway 22R. The airplane became aligned with the runway about 7 miles east of the airport, and a short time later the controller asked the pilot the nature of the emergency, to which he responded, "We have a control emergency there, a hard right aileron". The flight progressed, and a few minutes later the pilot reported that the airplane was on a 3 mile final. The airplane remained closely aligned with the runway centerline throughout the remaining descent, and control tower personnel stated that when the airplane neared the runway threshold it appeared to be flying in a 20-degrees, right-wing-low, attitude.

A tower controller reported that as the still-airborne airplane passed taxiway D, the engine sound changed, as if it was attempting to perform a go-around, and the airplane began a sharp roll to the right. It subsequently collided with the river just north of the airport.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot-in-command, who was seated in the left front seat, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, multiengine land, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane and helicopter, along with a flight instructor certificate for airplane single engine land. He also held a repairman, experimental builder certificate, and was rated in the Bell 212 helicopter, and Lockheed L-382 (C-130 Hercules) airplane.

His most recent FAA medical certificate was second class, and dated May 17, 2013, with the limitation that he must have available glasses for near vision. He was 64 years old. Representatives from Rocket Engineering stated the pilot had an appointment for his FAA medical examination at 0800 on the morning following the accident (Friday), and therefore chose to do the flight test that evening instead of the following day. The pilot's wife also stated that he typically did not work on Fridays, but would do so if work schedule required it.

The pilot had accumulated about 5,800 hours of total pilot-in-command flight time, 950 of which were in the accident make and model. He had flown about 20 hours in the accident make and model during the 30 day period leading up to the accident.

He was a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, with 20 years of active service in the capacity of a test pilot, instructor, and search and rescue pilot.

The pilot was employed as an Engineer for Rocket Engineering, and was the primary liaison with the FAA's Flight Standards and Certification divisions. He also typically performed post-conversion, post-maintenance, and customer familiarization flights for the company.

The pilot-rated-passenger held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating, issued in 2010. He had accumulated a total of about 122 hour's pilot-in-command flight experience.

He was employed at Rocket Engineering as a customer service and sales representative.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The six-seat, low-wing, pressurized airplane was originally manufactured by Piper in 1996 as a PA-46-350P. At that time it was equipped with a Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A, 350 horsepower turbocharged piston engine. In 2007 it was modified by Rocket Engineering under the JetProp LLC supplemental type certificate ST00541SE, which included the installation of a 560 horsepower Pratt and Whitney PT6A-35 turboprop engine.

The airplane was brought to the facilities of Rocket Engineering on April 17 for an annual inspection. During the period leading up to the accident, routine maintenance was performed, along with the replacement of the four aileron cables in the wings, and an aft elevator cable. The mechanic who performed the work stated that the aileron and elevator cables were replaced during the 3 day period leading up to the accident.

The airplane's owner arranged for another maintenance facility on the field to perform an avionics upgrade concurrent with the inspection, while the airplane was still at the Rocket Engineering facilities. The president of the company that performed the avionics upgrade informed the owner that it would take about 40 to 45 hours to complete, over the course of about 18 days. The upgrade included the addition of several new avionics units, and according to the mechanic who performed the work, most was performed in the rear avionics bay, and required the removal of the aft headliner, along with the middle and rear seats on the right side in order to accommodate new electrical cable runs. The avionics shop president stated that as the upgrade progressed, the owner made multiple requests to add additional items to the work scope, and due to time constraints, not all of his requests could be accommodated.

The airplane's owner reported that he had made arrangements to pick up the airplane on May 5th, however as the work progressed, he was informed that the airplane would not be ready in time, and the date was pushed back to May 7 (accident day) and then May 8. He had made plans to travel up from Los Angeles the afternoon of May 7, and was enroute via a commercial airline when the accident happened.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The weather conditions reported at Spokane at 1553 were winds from 020 degrees at 7 knots, 10 miles visibility with few clouds at 7,000 ft. The temperature was 71 degrees F, the dew point was 26 degrees F, and the altimeter pressure was 29.93 inHg.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The river was about 25 ft deep at the accident site, and all major airframe components sank within a few minutes of impact. The airplane was recovered by a diving team from the Spokane County Sheriff's department over a 2 day period during the week following the accident.

The fuselage sustained crush damage and fragmentation from the firewall through to the right-side emergency exit door. The engine remained attached to the firewall, and the propeller hub with all four blades remained attached to the engine gearbox. All blades were bent about 90 degrees aft, 8 to 12 inches from their roots. Both wings had separated from the airframe at their roots, with the right wing separating into two sections outboard of the main landing gear. The horizontal stabilizer had detached from the tailcone.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Spokane County Office of the Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on both pilots. The deaths were both attributed to the effects of multiple blunt force injuries.

Toxicological tests on specimens recovered from both occupants were performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI). Analysis revealed negative findings for ingested ethanol, with the following positive drug findings:

Pilot:

>> 10 (ug/ml, ug/g) Acetaminophen detected in Urine
>> Ranitidine detected in Urine
>> Ranitidine detected in Blood (Cavity)

Acetaminophen is a common-over-the-counter analgesic/antipyretic, and Ranitidine is an anti-histamine used in the treatment of gastric acid secretion. According to CAMI, neither of the drugs detected would have been considered hazardous to flight safety.

Pilot Rated Passenger:

>> Dextromethorphan detected in Urine
>> Dextromethorphan NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
>> Dextrorphan detected in Urine
>> Dextrorphan NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
>> Famotidine detected in Urine
>> Famotidine detected in Blood (Cavity)
>> Salicylate detected in Urine

Dextromethorphan, is a cough suppressant, commonly used in over the counter preparations. It is metabolized into dextrorphan, which also has cough suppressant property.

Famotidine (INN) is a histamine H2-receptor antagonist that inhibits stomach acid production, it is commonly marketed under the trade names Pepcidine and Pepcid.

Salicylate is an over the counter analgesic used in the treatment of mild pain.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Flight Control System Design

The airplane's primary flight controls are conventional, and operated by dual control wheels and rudder pedals through a closed circuit cable system. The ailerons and rudder are interconnected through a spring system located under the main cabin.

An aileron is mounted on the outboard trailing-edge section of each wing via a series of hinges. Movement of each aileron is controlled through a yoke and pin assembly which interfaces with a sector wheel mounted in each wing, just forward of each aileron. Each sector wheel is connected to, and driven by, one aileron drive cable and one balance cable. In each wing, both the balance and drive cables are terminated with identical ball swage fittings, and each swage fitting inserts into one of two identically-sized receptacles in the sector wheel. Both cables are approximately the same length outboard of the pressure vessel seals, which are located about 1 inch apart vertically at the wing root.

In each wing, both cables are routed to the fuselage along the wing trailing edge, and pass through their respective pressure vessel seals in the wing root. Inboard of the pressure vessel seals, the left and right balance cables connect to one another after passing through a center pulley, while the drive cables are routed forward via pulleys to the control wheel assembly in the cockpit. The balance and drive cables are aligned vertically at the pressure vessel seals, and diverge about 3 inches laterally at their respective pulley positions.

The sector wheel design is unique within the Piper fleet to the PA-46.

Control System Examination

The airplane was subject to a series of Piper Aircraft Service Bulletins and Service Letters related to the aileron flight controls.

The aileron control system was examined and found to be in compliance with Piper Service Bulletins 921 and 1190B, which require the installation of cable guards and doublers, respectively"

Piper Service Letter 1131 described cleaning and lubrication procedures for the self-aligning and needle bearings of the outboard aileron sector wheel. Both bearings for the left and right sector wheels appeared intact, and moved freely without any indication of binding.

The outboard section of the right wing had separated, but retained its aileron. A cable remained attached to the lower balance cable attach point of the aileron sector wheel. However, a tag on the cable identified it as part number "5038", which according to Piper maintenance instructions, was the aileron drive cable. The cable was routed over the outboard balance cable pulley, and then through the balance cable pass-through holes along the trailing edge. That cable continued after passing into the fuselage at the balance cable pressure vessel seal. Inboard of the seal, the cable was found to be routed around the right side drive pulley, and forward to the aileron quadrant assembly in the cockpit. Therefore, while the cable tag identified it as a drive cable, and it was properly routed and connected as a drive cable inside the pressure vessel, once it reached the pressure vessel seals, it was incorrectly routed and followed the balance cable path through the wings.

No cable was found attached to the drive section of the right aileron sector wheel. Examination of the remaining cable sections found in the wing revealed that a cable marked with the part number "5036" (right hand aileron balance cable) was routed through the drive cable pressure vessel seal. Inboard of the seal, the cable was connected to the left wing balance cable.

With the as-discovered cable routing, movement of the control wheel would result in the right aileron deflecting in the same direction as the left aileron, rather than in the opposite (per design) direction. No post-accident testing in this configuration was performed, so the extent of the deflection could not be determined.

The rudder trim wheel indicator in the cabin was found in the full left position. Examination of the remaining flight controls did not reveal any anomalies which would have precluded normal operation. A full examination report is contained in the public docket.

Maintenance Procedures

The mechanic who performed and signed off on the annual inspection, along with the subsequent maintenance including the control cable replacement, held an FAA airframe and powerplant certificate (A&P), with inspection authorization (IA). He had been an A&P mechanic for 22 years, and attained his IA rating 17 years prior. He reported replacing aileron cables in the PA-46 series about five prior times in his career.

He stated that he worked exclusively on the accident airplane during the weeks leading up to the accident, and that he replaced the left and right aileron balance cables, along with the two aft aileron drive cables on May 5, 6 and 7. He reported replacing the cables in accordance with the procedures outlined in the maintenance manual, and that he removed and replaced each cable one-at-a-time to prevent inadvertent misrouting. Following completion, he checked aileron operation from both inside and outside the airplane, confirming smooth and full deflection. As part of the test procedures, he checked the neutral position on both ailerons, and then he used a protractor for angular aileron deflection measurements.

The installing mechanic reported that once the work was completed, he asked another mechanic to check his work, asking him specifically to confirm the operation of the ailerons. In a subsequent interview, the other mechanic stated that he assisted with reattaching the ailerons, along with checking security and installation of safety wire, but he was never asked to, nor did he, confirm the correct operation of the ailerons.

The installing mechanic stated that he was called multiple times by the airplanes owner for update checks during the weeks leading up to the accident. Each time additional items were discovered which needed to be repaired, further pushing back the completion date. He eventually referred the owner to the sales representative (pilot rated passenger).

Maintenance Manual

The Piper Maintenance Manual utilized by the mechanic, and applicable to the accident aircraft, was examined at the facilities of Rocket Engineering. The Aileron Control Cables, Rigging and Adjustment section, dated December 23, 1998 included the following warning:

CAUTION:

VERIFY FREE AND CORRECT MOVEMENT OF AILERONS. WHILE IT WOULD SEEM SELF-EVIDENT, FIELD EXPERIENCE HAS SHOWN THAT THIS CHECK IS FREQUENTLY MISINTERPRETED OR NOT PERFORMED AT ALL. ACCORDINGLY, UPON COMPLETION OF AILERON RIGGING AND ADJUSTMENT, VERIFY THAT THE RIGHT AILERON MOVES UP AND THE LEFT AILERON MOVES DOWN WHEN THE CONTROL WHEEL IS TURNED RIGHT, AND THAT THE LEFT AILERON MOVES UP AND THE RIGHT AILERON MOVES DOWN WHEN THE CONTROL WHEEL IS TURNED LEFT.

Pilot Operating Handbook

The preflight checklist outlined in the normal procedures section of the pilot's operating handbook, includes a check to confirm "proper operation" of the primary flight controls from within the cockpit, along with a check of the ailerons and hinges during the walk-around. According to the mechanic, the pilot performed the preflight inspection while the mechanic was still reinstalling the seats and readying the cabin.

The location of the pilot's seat within the cockpit allows for a clear view of both ailerons through the cabin windows.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

At the time of the accident, Rocket Engineering had a set of inspection criteria in place for aircraft that had undergone heavy modifications such as the application of the JetProp STC. However, no formal procedures were established requiring that the work performed by a mechanic following an annual inspection be independently inspected. Furthermore, although 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 and 135 (air carrier, commuter, or on-demand operations) state, in part that, "No person may perform a required inspection if that person performed the item of work required to be inspected," there is no equivalent requirement for aircraft operated under Part 91 regulations.

No PA-46 accidents attributed to the reversal of the aileron cables were found in the NTSB accident database, nor did a search of FAA service difficulty reports (SDR's) reveal any events.