Thursday, December 8, 2016

Boeing's North Charleston campus starts final assembly of first 787-10 Dreamliner



Boeing Co. said Thursday it has started final assembly of its first 787-10, the longest member of the Dreamliner twin-aisle family that will be made exclusively at the aerospace giant's North Charleston campus.

The announcement comes a little more than a week after Boeing moved the fuselage sections for the first 787-10 into the final assembly building at the North Charleston site. 

"As we enter the next phase of the 787-10's development, we eagerly watch our first airplane come to life," Ken Sanger, vice president and general manager of 787 development, said in a statement. "This is the result of years of preparation and solid performance by our Boeing teammates and supplier partners."

The first 787-10 will cycle through Boeing South Carolina's final assembly building as all major sections are joined, interior and exterior components completed, power turned on and production tests begin.

The first 787-10 is expected to fly in 2017 and the first delivery is scheduled for 2018. Singapore Airlines is scheduled to get the first delivery of a 787-10, although the first plane produced won't necessarily be the first delivered.

The 787-10 will be built only in North Charleston because its fuselage is too large to transport to Boeing's other Dreamliner manufacturing site in Everett, Wash. Production of the 787-8 and 787-9 models are split between the two facilities.

The North Charleston site's "unique position to assemble all three 787 variants means that its own development as a center of composite excellence gives engineers a great platform to both drive down costs ... while providing a more mature airplane when handed over to the flight test team in a matter of weeks," said Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at London-based Strategic Aero Research.

As a stretch of the 787-9 model, the 787-10 will retain 95 percent commonality while adding seats and cargo capacity. Ahmad said that similarity should lead to a smooth integration of the new model into North Charleston's production system.

Boeing markets the plane as having 25 percent better fuel efficiency and lower emissions than the airplanes it will replace. It is the most expensive Dreamliner at a list price of $306.1 million, although buyers typically negotiate discounts.

Boeing has received 154 787-10 orders from nine customers. All told, there have been 1,210 orders through November for Boeing's Dreamliner family, with the 787-9 accounting for more than half of those sales. Boeing is expected to deliver its 500th Dreamliner before the end of this year.

Read more here:  http://www.postandcourier.com

Beech G36 Bonanza, Rural Health Outreach Inc., N536G: Fatal accident occurred May 23, 2014 in Silver City, New Mexico

A film on the legacy of three youth that died in a plane crash to be shown. 


The three Aldo Leopold students who died in the plane crash on May 23, 2014, were eco-monitors for the school the posed for a photo together in April 2014 at Aldo Leopold's prom. From left: Ella Kirk, Michael Mahl and Ella Myers.


SILVER CITY — The life and legacy of three Silver City area youth who perished in a 2014 plane crash will be depicted in a new film on Thursday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m. in Parotti Hall.

The film is titled A Heart, A Soul, A Voice and was shot on location, in Silver City and in the Gila Wilderness. High School students Ella Kirk, Michael Mahl and Ella Myers died in a small airplane crash in May of 2014, just outside of Silver City. The film explores the meaning and impact of their passing and the inspiration they still offer to their families and community.

All three teenagers led activist lives while attending Aldo Leopold Charter School, both as artists and environmental activists.

The three students –  Kirk, 14; Mahl, 16; and Myers, 16 – had been flying over the Signal Peak burn area in the Gila National Forest as part of their ecological monitoring internships at Aldo Leopold Charter School when the pilot of the single-engine plane they were riding in overshot Whiskey Creek Airport in Arenas Valley, outside Silver City. The three sophomores and pilot died in the crash, in an empty field just west of the Vans Mobile Home Park.

National Transportation Safety Board reports and eyewitness accounts confirmed that the pilot, Peter Hochla, an Albuquerque-based psychiatrist, took off during unstable weather conditions from Whiskey Creek Airport in Grant County, then failed to properly execute a landing, resulting in the fatal crash. The report said the pilot lacked the capability to land the high performance plane in a cross wind.

The families of the three later reached a settlement witht he charter school concerning its role in the accident. The terms of the agreement included an assessment of the safety practices at the school, educating staff and faculty about the school’s role in the incident, and public acknowledgement.

“Our objective has always been to help the school understand the chain of events leading up to this terrible tragedy,” said Patrice Mutchnick, Ella Kirk's mother in a statement made to the Sun-News back in December of last year. “Where were the checks and balances that should have prevented the teacher putting the children on a plane with a non-commercial pilot in such bad weather? We hoped the school could take responsibility for their actions leading up to the crash, so they could learn from their mistakes and take steps to make sure this kind of thing never happens again.”

The settlement also included a financial aspect, as the families received the maximum amount allowed by the state — $750,000. There also was a separate settlement from the pilot’s insurance company. That amount remained private.

“All three of the kids were very driven,” said John and Jenny Mahl, parents of Michael Mahl in a statement made back in December of 2015. “These three kids were rock stars; the amount of talent that they all had, music-wise, scholastically. It’s a horrific way that those kids died, but they lived life. They left an impact.”

The event will open with a 7:00 p.m. reception for the filmmaker and director David Garcia in Parotti Hall. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. A $10 donation is requested and will be used to help fund a new film by Garcia and Hearts on the Gila Productions, which explores how the lives of the three teens are positively impacting the future of the Gila River.

A trailer of the new film will be shown at the event. Garcia describes his film as “a story of three young environmental crusaders who gave their lives for their work.”

The event is co-sponsored by the WNMU Office of Cultural Affairs. To purchase a copy of the film, visit http://aheartasoulavoicemovie.com.

Source:   http://www.scsun-news.com




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

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

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

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

RURAL HEALTH OUTREACH INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N536G

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA249
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 23, 2014 in Silver City, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/17/2015
Aircraft: RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT COMPANY G36, registration: N536G
Injuries: 4 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 airplane was returning from a local flight and the pilot flew a tight downwind leg for landing on runway 35, possibly due to a direct crosswind in excess of 20 knots. During the base turn, the airplane overshot the final course, and the pilot used at least 60 degrees of bank to correct the airplane back on course and over the runway. The airplane then bounced and touched down at least 20 knots above the manufacturer’s published approach speed with about 1,810 ft remaining on the runway. The airplane’s airspeed began to rapidly decrease, but then several seconds later, the airplane’s airspeed increased as the pilot rejected the landing. The airplane did not gain significant altitude or airspeed then began a slight right turn. The airplane’s roll rate then sharply increased, and the airplane quickly descended, consistent with a stall, before colliding with a transmission wire and terrain. Examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Strong, variable, gusty wind, with an environment conductive to the formation of dry microbursts, was present at the airport at the time of the accident. Several lightning strikes were recorded in the vicinity of the accident site around the time of the accident. It is unknown if the presence of lightning or wind impacted the pilot’s inflight decision-making in the pattern, on approach, or during the attempted go-around. The circumstances of the accident are consistent with an in-flight encounter with a strong tailwind and/or windshear during climbout after the rejected landing.

An autopsy conducted on the pilot identified significant stenosis of a distal coronary artery without any other evidence of cardiac distress; however, if there was an associated medical event, the condition would likely result in sudden incapacitation, which is not consistent with the airplane’s coordinated flight profile. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The airplane’s encounter with a strong tailwind and/or windshear, which resulted in an inadvertent stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s continuation of the unstable approach, long landing, and delayed decision to conduct a go-around.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 23, 2014, at 1553 mountain daylight time, a Raytheon G36 airplane, N536G, impacted terrain near Silver City, New Mexico. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Rural Health Outreach Inc. 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 that operated without a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Whiskey Creek Airport (94E), Silver City, New Mexico, at 1536.

Several witnesses at 94E saw the airplane just prior to the accident. One witness at 94E saw the airplane in the pattern for runway 35. He noted that the airplane's position on downwind was "tight" in relation to the airport. The airplane began a "very tight base leg that was at least a 60 degree bank." The witness described the winds as gusty, around 25-30 knots, as would be associated with the passage of a thunderstorm. The airplane tightened the base to final turn and overshot the final approach leg. The witness estimated that the airplane's first touchdown occurred near mid-field, where it bounced and then settled to the runway. Shortly thereafter, the engine sounded as if the pilot had applied full engine power. The airplane was seen travelling down the runway and then took off. The airplane's landing gear and flaps appeared to both be down. The airplane began gaining altitude and started a slight right turn. The witness said that the airplane stalled and descended out of sight.

Another witness observed the airplane in a "tight left downwind approach for runway 35 at about 600-800" feet above ground level. The airplane's groundspeed increased in the base turn and the airplane flew through the runway's extended centerline. The airplane used at least 60 degrees of bank to correct back towards the runway's centerline. The airplane landed and then attempted to go around. The airplane went off the end of the runway at a high angle of attack, descended slightly into the valley, and then began to gain altitude. The airplane started a 15° bank turn to the east, began to descend, and the airplane's angle of attack got "steeper" as the airplane descended out of sight.

A witness near the accident site saw the airplane "gradually roll to the right, and then "sharply pitch" to the right where it impacted the ground."

The airplane impacted desert terrain near several trailer homes. A post impact fire ensued and consumed a majority of the airplane.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 67, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot flew his airplane frequently to treat patients at remote medical clinics. A review of the pilot's log book found that the last completed page ended on March 14, 2014. As of that date, the pilot logged a total of 3,547.7 hours. The preceding log book entries indicated that the pilot flew on average 15 hours per month, so the pilot's total flight time was about 3,600 hours prior to the accident. The pilot's flight review, which included an instrument proficiency check, was completed on December 16, 2012, in the accident airplane. On January 29, 2014, the pilot was issued a second class medical certificate with the restrictions that the pilot must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision. The medical examination also noted mild cataracts and his retina showed no holes, tears, or retinal detachment.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single engine, low wing, six-seat, retractable gear airplane, serial number E-3707, was manufactured in 2006. It was powered by a single 300-horsepower Continental Motors IO-550-B engine, serial number 675766, that drove a metal Hartzell three bladed, variable pitch propeller. The airplane's last inspection was an annual type accomplished on June 6, 2013, at an airframe total time of 1,105.8 hours. On October 3, 2013, the engine was overhauled and modified by a supplemental type certificate. The overhauled engine was installed in the airplane on November 1, 2013 at a total airframe time of 1,156.1 hours. The most recent hour meter recorded in the logbooks was for maintenance performed on April 8, 2014, at a total airframe time of 1,229.4 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1555, an automated weather reporting station located at the Grant Country Airport (KSVC), located about 8.75 nautical miles southeast of the accident site reported wind from 270 degrees at 21 knots gusting to 28 knots, visibility 10 miles, ceiling broken at 10,000 feet, temperature 70 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 34 degrees F, and a barometric pressure of 30.04 inches of mercury.

A weather study was conducted for the accident area. Atmosphere data retrieved from a weather balloon launch at 1800 from Santa Teresa, New Mexico, identified an environment conducive to "dry microbursts." This area had a potential for severe weather gusts of 68 knots and microburst gust potential of 50 knots. Weather radar data identified patterns consistent with developing and decaying convective activity in the vicinity of the accident site near the time of the accident. Some storm cell decay occurred south of the accident location with 10-15 minutes prior to the accident. In addition, from 1539-1555, several lightning strikes were detected within 10 miles of the accident site.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The Whiskey Creek Airport (94E) is a public airport located at measured altitude of 6,126 feet mean sea level. It has one runway 17/35, 5,400 feet by 50 feet, of asphalt construction in good condition.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted desert terrain near several trailer homes, about 0.8 miles northeast of runway 35's departure end. The airplane's first impact point was a transmission wire located west of the accident site about 25 feet above the ground. Forty feet east of the transmission wire was a ground crater which contained the airplane's propeller. The debris path was roughly cone shaped, was aligned on a 77° magnetic heading, and was about 140 feet long and 70 feet at its widest area. A postimpact fire ensued which consumed a majority of the airplane. The main wreckage contained remnants of the cabin, fuselage, wings, and empennage. The wreckage came to rest facing a 228° heading.

Both ailerons were partially consumed by the postimpact fire and remnants remained attached to their respective wing. The left aileron trim actuator extension was measured and found to be about 1.75 inches, which corresponded to about 7° trim tab trailing edge down. Aileron control continuity was established from the flight controls to each wing bell crank. Aileron trim control cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the aileron trim actuator. The flaps actuator indicated the flaps were up. The left and right elevator flight control surfaces were partially consumed by the postimpact fire. Remnants of the elevators remained attached to their respective horizontal stabilizer. The left and right elevator trim actuator extensions were measured and found to be 1.625 inches, which corresponded between 10-15° trim tab trailing edge down, airplane nose up. Elevator control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the elevator surfaces. The elevator trim control cables were confirmed from the cockpit to the trim actuators. The rudder was partially consumed by the postimpact fire and remnants remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. Rudder control continuity was established from the cockpit to the rudder bell crank. The gear handle was found in the down position. The fuel selector was found selecting the right main tank. No preimpact anomalies were detected with the airframe.

The engine was impacted damaged and found separated from the airframe. Both magnetos were actuated by hand and found to produce a spark at each terminal. The fuel manifold valve screen was clear of debris and all fuel nozzles were found clear of blockages. The throttle body and fuel metering unit's fuel screen contained a small amount of fibrous material but was largely unobstructed. The crankshaft was able to be turned by hand with continuity established throughout the engine. Cylinder thumb compression and suction was confirmed to each cylinder. A borescope inspection of each cylinder found normal operation and combustion signatures. No preimpact anomalies were detected with the engine.

The propeller blades were labelled "A", "B", and "C" for documentation purposes only. All three blades displayed signatures of chordwise scratches, leading edge nicks and gouges, and blade polishing. Blade B was curled near the tip and the tip of the blade was found separated. Blade C displayed S-bending along its entire length.

A Garmin Oregon 450t hand held GPS was found in the debris field and was sent to the NTSB laboratories for a data download.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was authorized and conducted on the pilot by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator. The cause of death was the result of multiple blunt trauma and the manner of death was ruled an accident. The autopsy identified 80% stenosis of the distal third left anterior descending coronary artery. All other arteries were free of stenosis.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Testing detected the presence of oxymetazonline which is a decongestant used in the treatment of nasal congestion.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Pilot Operating Handbook

Beechcraft's Model G36 Bonanza Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH), revised July 2014, listed the maximum demonstrated crosswind limit as 17 knots.

The Normal Procedures section lists the balked landing checklist:

1. Throttle and Propeller … Full Forward
2. Airspeed …80 KTS (until clear of obstacles, then trim to 110 KTS)
3. Flaps … UP
4. Landing Gear … RETRACT
5. Cowl Flaps … OPEN

Published landing performance data for the airplane is predicated on a threshold speed between 78-81 knots depending on the airplane's weight. Published performance data does not exist for landings in excess of the published approach speeds or in excess of 10 knots of tailwind. Using a gross weight of 3,400 pounds, a direct crosswind of 20 knots, 70° F, and an approach speed of 80 knots, engineers from Textron Aviation estimated the required landing distance at 1,720 feet.

The POH provided a chart of stall speeds with idle power. The chart was run for the airplane's final configuration of flaps up and airplane gross weights between 2,800-3,600 pounds. The stall speed at 30° of bank would be between 66-72 knots.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Garmin Oregon 450t

The Garmin Oregon 450t is a battery operated hand-portable GPS receiver with a 12 channel wide area augmentation system (WAAS). The unit contains an electronic compass and a barometric pressure sensor for recording pressure-based altitude information. Published GPS position location accuracy is less than 33 feet horizontal under normal conditions, and 10-16 feet with differential global positioning system (DGPS) active. Although the device was thermally damaged, the airplane's last flight track was extracted. For the accident flight, the device was powered on at 1401 and recorded the airplane's takeoff time of 1536 as the flight departed on runway 17. The airplane turned to the north and flew about 13 miles north in an area between Black Peak and New Mexico Highway 15. The airplane then returned back to 94E and entered a left base turn for runway 35. Starting at 1551, the GPS update rate began to vary and there were two episodes of where the GPS receiver momentarily lost satellite lock and continued to record position information based on projected data. About 1552:15, as the airplane turned left towards the runway, the receiver lost satellite lock and the airplane's position returned at 1552:42 as the airplane was over the runway. At that time, the airplane was about 770 feet down the runway and 175 feet above ground level. At 1552:53, the airplane touched down with a groundspeed of 120 knots, skipped, and touched down 3 seconds later at 100 knots groundspeed with about 1,810 feet remaining on the runway. The airplane slowed to 87 knots and with 1,060 feet remaining on the runway the airplane's groundspeed began to increase. The airplane lifted off from the runway, flew to the north, and began a slight climb. At 1553:12, the airplane began to turn right at a rate of about 3-4° per second. About 1553:26, the receiver again lost satellite lock and regained the airplane's position about 30 seconds later at the accident site. The final portion of the accident sequence was not captured by the device.

iPhone

An Apple iPhone was located in the airplane's wreckage and shipped to the NTSB laboratories for download. Data extracted from the iPhone showed that none of the video files were date/time stamped on the day of the accident. Thirty eight of the image files were date/time stamped on the day of the accident. Most of these files depicted persons and aircraft on the ground. Ten of these files corresponded with previews or full resolution images of the view off the right wing from inside an aircraft in-flight. The file containing the most recent image was taken at 15:46:35 MDT. There was no data which could aid in reconstructing in accident sequence.

Secure Digital (SD) Card

An SD card was found in a thermally damaged camera in the airplane's wreckage. The SD card was extracted from the camera and shipped to the NTSB laboratories for download. Data extracted from the SD card found that two of the video files were date/time stamped on the day of the accident. Twenty of the image files were date/time stamped on the day of the accident. All of the image files corresponded with external views of an airplane on the ground or in-flight views looking forward or off the right wing. The most recent image was time stamped 1546 MDT. The two video files depicted in-flight views looking forward or off the right wing from an airplane in level flight. There was no data which could aid in reconstructing in accident sequence.

Aviation fees soar high above those of average student

Hayley Haning was flying a plane every day by the time she was 14, long before she learned to drive a car.

By the time she was 18, she was in flight classes in her native West Virginia, and the now-21-year-old aviation major has earned her instrument-rated private pilot certificate. Haning said Eastern’s aviation program is the best she had seen, and she wanted to be a part of it.

However, her degree leading to a commercial pilot license will cost her $51,690, which is more than the standard EKU tuition.

“I think that the expenses the aviation department sets for students are way too high, but it isn’t just at EKU that costs are extremely high,” Haning said. “Almost all flight schools charge extreme fees too high to afford, not just EKU. With the growing demand of pilots, I believe a course of action will have to be taken.”

EKU’s aviation department is the only self-funded department within the university, but also has the highest fees for students. Aviation Assistant Professor Greg Wilson said aviation classes require significantly more equipment and supplies than other programs. In other classes, students don’t have to pay for an airplane, gasoline and insurance. Therefore, each aviation student must pick up the extra costs.

The Eastern Kentucky University Student Program and Course Fees 2015-16 Operating Budget lists the costs for all department course fees and expenses that students have to pay. An average aviation student has to pay a flight fee for every lab, a course fee and an insurance fee.

The most expensive aviation course has a $9,300 fee, while the lowest flight fee is $150. In addition to the flight fee for the labs, the student must pay the cost of the course fee which ranges from a high of $260 to a low of $30. That makes the average cost for a student to pay for a course plus a lab a total of $4,096.51, plus an insurance fee of $3,120.

EKU houses Kentucky’s only Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved university flight program, allowing students to earn FAA certification as a private pilot, commercial pilot and certified flight instructor. Students must log between 250 and 300 flight hours through the Madison Airport, managed by EKU.

“Since we are an FAA program, each student has to pay to take written exams and have check rides in order to pass tests that allow them to move up a level in their aviation career,” Wilson said, “but, that also adds another expense on the students because each exam and ride costs around $600 total, and on average, a student will have to pay that four times before graduating.”

The academic common market allows students like Haning from surrounding states to pay the in-state tuition rate. Nevertheless, the expenses added up still make it almost impossible for her family and many others to afford the program.

A total 175 aviation students currently are enrolled in two concentrations: flight and managerial. According to Wilson, 135 students are in the flight path and 40 are managerial students.

In 2009, Eastern’s aviation program received the 2009 Aviation Achievement Award, and recently won the “Top Hawk” award for having an outstanding aviation program and was awarded with a new plane for their program.

“We have a 100 percent graduation rate,” Wilson said. “Eastern is the only program of its kind in Kentucky that provides the aviation industry with the most managers and fully trained pilots today.”

Source:   http://www.easternprogress.com

Federal Aviation Administration, Police continue to investigate Boise Airport tower incident



Three weeks after pilots were unable to reach air traffic controllers for a time at the Boise Airport, authorities have not explained what happened.

The incident took place in the early hours of Nov. 19, a Saturday. Two Air St. Luke’s helicopters — one leaving the health system’s Downtown Boise hospital and returning to the airport, and a second one leaving the airport between 2:30 a.m. and 2:40 a.m. — launched alternate procedures after failing to reach air controllers.


The pilots announced their headings over the radio to alert any other aircraft monitoring the frequency to know where they were. It also let the airport’s operations office know that something was wrong.


The Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t released any details, other than to say the matter is under investigation.


“Obviously, we don’t discuss ongoing investigations,” said Allen Kenitzer, a regional FAA spokesman based in Renton, Wash.


The Boise Police Department recently denied a public records request from the Idaho Statesman seeking reports on the incident, saying the case was still under police investigation.


Police officers were sent to the tower for a welfare check after airport operations officials were unable to make contact with anyone at the tower.


“Disclosure of said record would interfere with enforcement proceedings,” Madeleine Schroeder, a city records custodian, wrote in a letter denying the request.


Authorities have not said whether one or more than one controller was on duty that morning. The Boise tower handles incoming and outgoing flights both from the Boise Airport and Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Montana.


No incidents were reported at either airport as a result of pilots being unable to reach the controllers.


Source:   http://www.idahostatesman.com 




Federal Aviation Administration investigating why Boise Airport tower stopped responding November 19th.

For at least 20 minutes Saturday morning, November 19th,  pilots were unable to make contact with air traffic controllers at the Boise Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it is investigating what happened but would provide no other details.

“All I can tell you at this time is that we are looking into it,” said Allen Kenitzer, a regional FAA spokesman based in Renton, Wash.

No incidents were reported as a result of the inability to contact the controllers.

The first commercial flight of the day, a Delta flight to Minneapolis, was not scheduled to depart until 5:30 a.m., and no incoming flights were scheduled to arrive until just before 8 a.m.

Two Air St. Luke’s helicopters — one leaving the health system’s Downtown Boise hospital and returning to the airport, and a second one leaving the airport between 2:30 a.m. and 2:40 a.m. — launched alternate procedures after failing to reach air controllers.

“We’re about to land at the aviation air center. We’ll remain clear and north of the runways,” one of the pilots announced over the radio in a recording provided by the online service LiveATC.net.

By announcing the helicopter’s movements over the radio, it allowed any other aircraft monitoring the frequency to know there was an aircraft heading to the airport. It also alerted the airport’s operations office that something was amiss, St. Luke’s spokeswoman Anita Kissée said.

“The protocol is to call out and to announce their launch report over the radio, their movements and coordinates,” Kissée said.

Likewise, airport operations officials were unable to establish communication with the tower, airport spokesman Sean Briggs said.

“At that point in time, we did send police and fire (crews) over to the tower,” Briggs said.

Briggs would not say what they found, referring further questions to the FAA.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee, True North Aviation, N8648N: Fatal accident occurred December 07, 2016 in Port Alsworth, Alaska

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N8648N

Location: Port Alsworth, AK
Accident Number: ANC17FA010
Date & Time: 12/07/2016, 0935 AKS
Registration: N8648N
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-180
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Unknown or undetermined
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On December 7, 2016, about 0935 Alaska standard time, a wheel-equipped Piper PA-28-180 airplane, N8648N, impacted the open waters of Lake Clark shortly after takeoff from the Port Alsworth Airport (PALJ), Port Alsworth, Alaska. The noninstrument-rated private pilot and three passengers are missing and presumed to have sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was not recovered and is presumed to have sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to a private individual in Port Alsworth, and the pilot had rented the airplane for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 visual flight rules cross-country personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the airplane's point of departure, but instrument meteorological conditions were reported along the flight's anticipated route. The flight departed PALJ about 0930 with a destination of Merrill Field Airport (PAMR), Anchorage, Alaska. No flight plan was filed for the flight.

During a telephone conversation with a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator on December 8, a friend of the pilot and passengers reported that the three passengers were part of a family traveling to Anchorage to meet up with other family members. They were originally scheduled to travel on a scheduled air carrier flight on the day of the accident, but canceled their reservations and elected to fly to Anchorage with the pilot instead. Another family member departed for Anchorage aboard the scheduled air carrier flight.

A pilot who was completing a flight from Anchorage to PALJ about the time of the accident reported speaking with the accident pilot a couple minutes after the accident airplane departed from PALJ. He told the accident pilot that the tops of the clouds were about 2,000 ft and that, from his perspective, it looked open at Miller Valley, which is located about 10 miles northeast of PALJ along the northern shore of Lake Clark. The accident pilot replied, "looking good under here, I'm gonna keep going." No further radio transmissions were received from the accident pilot.

When the airplane failed to arrive in Anchorage, family members and friends of the passengers reported the airplane overdue. An alert notice was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at 1501 on December 7, and an extensive search was launched. According to the airplane's owner, the airplane was equipped with a 406 MHz emergency transmitter locator, but no signal was received by search personnel.

On December 8, about 1530, searchers located personal items floating about 11 miles northeast of the airport in Lake Clark that were later positively identified as belonging to the occupants of the airplane. Also recovered were three airplane landing gear wheel assemblies, a co-pilot (right side) seat, and cargo from the airplane. The rest of the airplane was not located, and it is presumed to have sunk in Lake Clark.

The official search was suspended by the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve and the Alaska State Troopers on December 12, 2016. Family friends and volunteers continued to search for the missing airplane.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 25, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/01/2013
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time: (Estimated) 257.2 hours (Total, all aircraft)
  
Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 45, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/08/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 32 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot, age 25, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. His most recent third class medical certificate was issued on February 1, 2013, and contained the limitation, "must wear corrective lenses."

A logbook belonging to the pilot was recovered from the waters of Lake Clark during the search for the airplane. The last entry, dated November 9, 2016, was for a flight in the accident airplane. The total flight time listed in the logbook was 257.2 hours. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N8648N
Model/Series: PA 28-180 180
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1971
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28-7105149
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/15/2016, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2152.7 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer:  LYCOMING
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A4A
Registered Owner: ALSWORTH GLEN R
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  None 

The airplane was manufactured in 1971 and equipped with a Lycoming O-360 series engine. The airplane was not equipped or certified for flight into known icing conditions. No airframe or engine logbooks were located for the accident airplane. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAIL, 192 ft msl
Observation Time: 0953 AKS
Distance from Accident Site: 32 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 20°
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Temperature/Dew Point:  -16°C / -17°C
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1200 ft agl
Visibility:   10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 16 knots/ 22 knots, 360°
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration:  No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Port Alsworth, AK (TPO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: ANCHORAGE, AK (MRI)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time:  AKS
Type of Airspace:  Class G

The closest official weather station was at PALJ, located about 8 miles southwest of the accident site. PALJ used Aviation Paid Weather Observers (A-Paid) who are individuals trained by the National Weather Service and/or the FAA and stationed in locations where the NWS has determined that it is necessary to take weather observations to help provide NWS forecast responsibilities. A-Paid observers are certified by the NWS to take surface observations (that is, hourly reports of temperature, dew point, estimated cloud cover, estimated visibility, pressure, weather, and wind direction and speed) using equipment provided by the NWS. These observers are compensated for their work on a per-observation basis. Between December 5 and December 7, there were a total of four observations taken by the A-Paid observer at PALJ. The only observation from the day of the accident was timestamped 1459 and stated in part: wind from 140° at 5 knots, 7 miles visibility, overcast ceiling at 500 ft above ground level (agl), temperature 3°F, dew point 0°F, and altimeter setting 30.18 inches of mercury.

Iliamna Airport (PAIL), Iliamna, Alaska, was the next closest official weather station, located 40 miles southwest of the accident site. PAIL had an Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS); the reports were supplemented by air traffic controllers.

At 0911, a METAR from PAIL reported in part: wind from 360° at 13 knots with gusts to 23 knots, 10 miles visibility, overcast ceiling at 1,100 ft agl, temperature of -3°C, dew point temperature of 1°F, and an altimeter setting of 30.17 inches of mercury.

At 0953, a METAR from PAIL reported in part: wind from 360° at 16 knots with gusts to 22 knots, 10 miles visibility, overcast ceiling at 1,200 ft agl, temperature of -3°F, dew point temperature of 1°F, and an altimeter setting of 30.16 inches of mercury.

The closest official upper air sounding to the accident site was from King Salmon, Alaska, (PAKN), located 124 miles southwest of the accident site at an elevation of 46 feet.

The 0300 PAKN sounding indicated a conditionally unstable layer between the surface and 750 feet with a stable layer from 750 feet through 3,250 feet. An inversion (increase in temperature with height) was located immediately above the surface to 2,488 feet and this inversion would have kept any clouds that formed below the inversion in place if the background wind environment was relatively light. With the relative humidity greater than 80% from the surface to 10,000 feet, the complete Rawinsonde Observation program (RAOB) indicated that clouds were likely from the surface through 10,000 feet. Moderate or greater icing conditions were indicated by RAOB in the cloud cover between 750 feet and 6,500 feet. A detailed meteorology study is located in the public docket for this accident. 

Airport Information

Airport: PORT ALSWORTH (TPO)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 280 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 
VFR Approach/Landing:  None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: Unknown
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  60.297222, -154.117222 (est) 

The airplane is presumed to have sustained substantial damage during impact with the open waters of Lake Clark shortly after takeoff. Due to the depth of the lake, about 500 ft in some locations, there are no search and recovery efforts planned at the time of this report. 

Medical And Pathological Information


To date, the remains of the pilot have not been located; therefore, no pathological or toxicology information exists. At the time of his last medical examination, the pilot reported no medical concerns, and no significant issues were identified by the aviation medical examiner.

NTSB Identification: ANC17FA010 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 07, 2016 in Port Alsworth, AK
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-180, registration: N8648N
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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

On December 7, 2016, about 0935 Alaska standard time (AST), a wheel-equipped Piper PA-32-180 airplane, N8648N, is presumed to have sustained substantial damage during impact with the open waters of Lake Clark shortly after takeoff from the Port Alsworth Airport, Port Alsworth, Alaska. Of the four occupants on board, the non-instrument rated private pilot and three passengers are presumed to have sustained fatal injuries, and all remain missing. At the time of the accident instrument meteorological conditions were reported in the area. The airplane was registered to a private individual in Port Alsworth, and it had recently been rented to the accident pilot for the 14 CFR Part 91 visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the airplane's point of departure, but reduced visibility conditions were reported along the flight's anticipated flight route, including low-lying ice fog over Lake Clark. The accident flight originated at the Port Alsworth Airport, Port Alsworth, about 0930, en route to the Merrill Field Airport, Anchorage, Alaska, the flight's final destination for the day. No flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to the owner, the missing airplane was equipped with a 406 MHz emergency transmitter locator (ELT), but no signal was received by search personnel.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chief on December 8, a family friend of both the pilot and passengers reported that four family members were originally scheduled to fly to Anchorage on a scheduled air carrier on the day of the accident. The friend explained that on the morning of the accident, three of the four passengers canceled their reservations on the scheduled air carrier, and they elected to fly to Anchorage with the accident pilot instead, while the other family member departed for Anchorage aboard the scheduled air carrier's flight. 

When the airplane failed to arrive in Anchorage, concerned family members and friends of the passengers called the NTSB's Alaska Regional Office to report the airplane overdue. Consequently, an alert notice was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on December 7, at 1501, and an extensive search was launched. Search operations were conducted by personnel from the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska Air National Guard, Alaska State Troopers, Civil Air Patrol, as well as many Good Samaritan pilots. 

On December 8, about 1530, searchers located personal items floating in Lake Clark that were later positively identified as belonging to the missing occupants. Also recovered were three airplane landing gear wheel assemblies, a co-pilot (right side) seat, as well as cargo from the missing airplane. The rest of the airplane has not yet been located, and it is presumed to have sunk in the deep waters of Lake Clark. 

The official search was suspended by the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve and the Alaska State Troopers on December 12, 2016. Family friends and volunteers continued to search for the missing airplane. 

The closest weather reporting facility was at the Port Alsworth Airport, Port Alsworth, Alaska, about 10 miles south of the debris location. At 1453, a weather observation from the Port Alsworth Airport was reporting, in part: Wind, 150 degrees (true) at 04 knots; visibility, 7 statute miles; cloud and sky conditions, 500 feet overcast; temperature, 3 degrees F; dew point, 0 degrees F; altimeter, 30.18inHg. Remarks: "EST PASS CLOSED." 

A pilot operating in the area at the time the airplane disappeared reported speaking with the accident pilot during the descent phase of his flight from Anchorage to Port Alsworth. He stated that he spoke with the accident pilot a couple minutes after the pilot departed the Port Alsworth Airport and he told him the tops of the clouds were about 2,000 feet and from his perspective, it looked open at Miller Valley. The accident pilot replied "looking good under here, I'm gonna keep going." No further radio transmissions were received from the accident pilot.

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

A detailed wreckage and engine examination is pending recovery of the airplane.

Kyle Longerbeam



Federal Aviation Administration weather camera on the western end of Lake Clark Pass shows heavy fog Thursday afternoon.



Federal Aviation Administration aviation camera on the eastern end of Lake Clark Pass shows clear weather Thursday afternoon.



Scott Blom (back, second from left), 45, and his children Zach (front in the orange jacket), 13 and daughter Kaitlyn (front, right).



Lyle Longerbeam



Grace Bible Church: https://www.facebook.com


Scott Blom and two of his teenage children had been headed to a high school volleyball tournament in Anchorage when they and their young pilot were killed in a plane crash Wednesday in Lake Clark, near the place where they started — Port Alsworth.

Blom's family and friends, in their first detailed statements about what they knew about the circumstances of the plane crash, also said Friday that Blom's wife, Julie Blom, flew separately on a commercial flight to Anchorage because there wasn't room for her on the four-seater, single-engine plane.

Another one of the Blom children was on a high school volleyball team and traveled to Anchorage separately with his teammates, while a fourth was already living in the city as a student at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

The Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee had left Port Alsworth around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, but never arrived in Anchorage. It had carried the pilot, Kyle Longerbeam, 25; Blom, 45, a Christian missionary; daughter Kaitlyn Blom, 14; and Zach Blom, 13. All lived in Port Alsworth, a small community on the shores of Lake Clark, inside the vast Lake Clark National Park and Preserve and about 165 miles southwest of Anchorage.

In the two days that followed Wednesday's report of the missing plane and people, searchers found the plane's co-pilot seat and three of its wheels floating on Lake Clark. They also found some of the plane occupants' personal items scattered in the water north and east of Port Alsworth, said statements from the National Park Service.

"So without a doubt, the airplane is unfortunately underwater," said Clint Johnson, the National Transportation Safety Board Alaska chief. Johnson said on Friday the agency was assuming the three passengers and pilot had died in the crash "unless we hear otherwise."

A search from the air was expected to continue Saturday. What led the plane to crash remains under investigation, Johnson said.

The Blom family of six lived in Port Alsworth for about seven years, according to family friend Jackie Wilder.

Scott Blom and his wife, Julie, had spearheaded a nationwide leadership training program for college students and military cadets through Lifelines, a branch of the evangelical organization Cru, once known as Campus Crusade for Christ, said a statement from the family provided Friday by Tanalian School Principal Nate Davis.

"The Bloms are based out of their home and lodge on Lake Clark and have a passion for serving Alaskans and helping them develop their own relationship with Jesus Christ," the statement said.

Wilder said the Bloms all helped out at Port Alsworth's small, public K-12 school, the Tanalian School, and were outgoing members of the tight-knit community of about 200 people. According to the family's statement, Scott Blom coached the high school boys basketball team.

Wilder said in the Bloms' spare time, they indulged in their love of the outdoors.

"They were out and about all the time; they were very kind, hardworking, thoughtful, smart," she said. "They loved hiking, boating, flying, hunting, trapping, fishing — they just loved everything that Alaska has to offer."

On Wednesday, the entire Blom family was supposed to be in Anchorage. The couple's oldest son, Josh, a freshman at the University of Alaska Anchorage, was already there, and the second oldest, Sam, had traveled with the volleyball team, Davis said.

The family's statement Friday said Kaitlyn and Zach were both honor roll students.

The statement described Longerbeam as an Alaska guide and "great friend to many." Joel Natwick, owner of Tanalian Aviation, described Longerbeam as a "good man."

"He was a talented guide and outdoorsman and he was a good pilot," he said.

Longerbeam had a private pilot certificate, according to state records. Photographs on Longerbeam's Facebook page show him out in Alaska's outdoors — fishing, hunting, wearing snowshoes and posing with pelts as well as a plane.

He was a former resident of Fairfield, Iowa, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and "left everyone and everything behind … to live out his childhood dreams in Alaska," according to a statement issued Saturday by his brother, James "J.J." Longerbeam.

Longerbeam's life ended with him "doing what (he) loved to do," the statement said.

The plane takes off

Johnson said he could not provide information Friday on how many planes had also taken off from the Port Alsworth late Wednesday morning.

The community is not reachable by ground. Two flight services regularly operate out of Port Alsworth — Lake and Peninsula Airlines and Lake Clark Air, said Natwick, whose Tanalian Aviation is a helicopter tour company with a summer base in Port Alsworth.

Lake Clark Air declined to comment Friday, and Lake and Peninsula Airlines did not respond to calls.

Natwick said Longerbeam worked as a private pilot. According to the plane's tail number, the plane he flew Wednesday belonged to Glen Alsworth. The Alsworth family owns Lake Clark Air. It's unknown if Longerbeam rented or borrowed the plane.

What is known is that Longerbeam and the three Bloms took off from Port Alsworth in "less than stellar" weather, Johnson said. "But we need to get some more specifics there."

Johnson said pilots reported "a fair amount of fog and restricted visibility over the lake."

The plane's route during the 90-minute flight would have taken it above the lake and then through Lake Clark Pass to the northeast, Johnson said. Natwick said the plane would have likely followed the shoreline on the northeast side of the lake.

The National Weather Service's closest weather observation station to Port Alsworth is in Iliamna, to the southwest. Bill Ludwig, a NWS meteorologist, said Friday the weather in Iliamna can be fairly indicative of what's going on over Lake Clark.

Around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, he said, Iliamna had a low ceiling, between 800 and 1,500 feet, with a brisk wind between 15 and 25 mph, and with temperatures around 3 degrees.

"The fact that they had pretty bad conditions there indicates that the weather was probably the same in the case of the Lake Clark area," Ludwig said.

Extensive searches have continued this week to find the four missing people and the plane. Natwick said he flew a helicopter over the area Wednesday and Thursday, assisting in the search, and reported poor visibility and fog over the lake.

Johnson, with the NTSB, said Friday that the agency was investigating the crash, including its cause.

Asked whether aircraft have been recovered before from deep in Lake Clark, Johnson recalled a crash in 2005 in which three girls died.



Aviation
Father, 2 kids were heading to Anchorage volleyball tournament when plane crashed

    Author: Tegan Hanlon Updated: 2 hours ago Published 16 hours ago 

The Blom family at Tanalian Falls near Port Alsworth. (Courtesy Nate Davis)

Scott Blom and two of his teenage children had been headed to a high school volleyball tournament in Anchorage when they and their young pilot were killed in a plane crash Wednesday in Lake Clark, near the place where they started — Port Alsworth.

Blom's family and friends, in their first detailed statements about what they knew about the circumstances of the plane crash, also said Friday that Blom's wife, Julie Blom, flew separately on a commercial flight to Anchorage because there wasn't room for her on the four-seater, single-engine plane.

Another one of the Blom children was on a high school volleyball team and traveled to Anchorage separately with his teammates, while a fourth was already living in the city as a student at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

The single-engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee had left Port Alsworth around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, but never arrived in Anchorage. It had carried the pilot, Kyle Longerbeam, 25; Blom, 45, a Christian missionary; daughter Kaitlyn Blom, 14; and Zach Blom, 13. All lived in Port Alsworth, a small community on the shores of Lake Clark, inside the vast Lake Clark National Park and Preserve and about 165 miles southwest of Anchorage.

In the two days that followed Wednesday's report of the missing plane and people, searchers found the plane's co-pilot seat and three of its wheels floating on Lake Clark. They also found some of the plane occupants' personal items scattered in the water north and east of Port Alsworth, said statements from the National Park Service.

"So without a doubt, the airplane is unfortunately underwater," said Clint Johnson, the National Transportation Safety Board Alaska chief. Johnson said on Friday the agency was assuming the three passengers and pilot had died in the crash "unless we hear otherwise."

A search from the air was expected to continue Saturday. What led the plane to crash remains under investigation, Johnson said.

Those onboard

The Blom family of six lived in Port Alsworth for about seven years, according to family friend Jackie Wilder.

Scott Blom and his wife, Julie, had spearheaded a nationwide leadership training program for college students and military cadets through Lifelines, a branch of the evangelical organization Cru, once known as Campus Crusade for Christ, said a statement from the family provided Friday by Tanalian School Principal Nate Davis.

"The Bloms are based out of their home and lodge on Lake Clark and have a passion for serving Alaskans and helping them develop their own relationship with Jesus Christ," the statement said.

Wilder said the Bloms all helped out at Port Alsworth's small, public K-12 school, the Tanalian School, and were outgoing members of the tight-knit community of about 200 people. According to the family's statement, Scott Blom coached the high school boys basketball team.

Wilder said in the Bloms' spare time, they indulged in their love of the outdoors.

"They were out and about all the time; they were very kind, hardworking, thoughtful, smart," she said. "They loved hiking, boating, flying, hunting, trapping, fishing — they just loved everything that Alaska has to offer."

On Wednesday, the entire Blom family was supposed to be in Anchorage. The couple's oldest son, Josh, a freshman at the University of Alaska Anchorage, was already there, and the second oldest, Sam, had traveled with the volleyball team, Davis said.

The family's statement Friday said Kaitlyn and Zach were both honor roll students.
Kyle Longerbeam (Photo courtesy Longerbeam family)
Kyle Longerbeam (Photo courtesy Longerbeam family)

The statement described Longerbeam as an Alaska guide and "great friend to many." Joel Natwick, owner of Tanalian Aviation, described Longerbeam as a "good man."

"He was a talented guide and outdoorsman and he was a good pilot," he said.

Longerbeam had a private pilot certificate, according to state records. Photographs on Longerbeam's Facebook page show him out in Alaska's outdoors — fishing, hunting, wearing snowshoes and posing with pelts as well as a plane.

He was a former resident of Fairfield, Iowa, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and "left everyone and everything behind … to live out his childhood dreams in Alaska," according to a statement issued Saturday by his brother, James "J.J." Longerbeam.

Longerbeam's life ended with him "doing what (he) loved to do," the statement said.

The plane takes off

Johnson said he could not provide information Friday on how many planes had also taken off from the Port Alsworth late Wednesday morning.

The community is not reachable by ground. Two flight services regularly operate out of Port Alsworth — Lake and Peninsula Airlines and Lake Clark Air, said Natwick, whose Tanalian Aviation is a helicopter tour company with a summer base in Port Alsworth.

Lake Clark Air declined to comment Friday, and Lake and Peninsula Airlines did not respond to calls.

Natwick said Longerbeam worked as a private pilot. According to the plane's tail number, the plane he flew Wednesday belonged to Glen Alsworth. The Alsworth family owns Lake Clark Air. It's unknown if Longerbeam rented or borrowed the plane.

What is known is that Longerbeam and the three Bloms took off from Port Alsworth in "less than stellar" weather, Johnson said. "But we need to get some more specifics there."

Johnson said pilots reported "a fair amount of fog and restricted visibility over the lake."

The plane's route during the 90-minute flight would have taken it above the lake and then through Lake Clark Pass to the northeast, Johnson said. Natwick said the plane would have likely followed the shoreline on the northeast side of the lake.

The National Weather Service's closest weather observation station to Port Alsworth is in Iliamna, to the southwest. Bill Ludwig, a NWS meteorologist, said Friday the weather in Iliamna can be fairly indicative of what's going on over Lake Clark.

Around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, he said, Iliamna had a low ceiling, between 800 and 1,500 feet, with a brisk wind between 15 and 25 mph, and with temperatures around 3 degrees.

"The fact that they had pretty bad conditions there indicates that the weather was probably the same in the case of the Lake Clark area," Ludwig said.

Extensive searches have continued this week to find the four missing people and the plane. Natwick said he flew a helicopter over the area Wednesday and Thursday, assisting in the search, and reported poor visibility and fog over the lake.

Johnson, with the NTSB, said Friday that the agency was investigating the crash, including its cause.

Asked whether aircraft have been recovered before from deep in Lake Clark, Johnson recalled a crash in 2005 in which three girls died.
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According to the NTSB's final report on that crash, the girls' father lost depth perception in whiteout conditions and flew into the frozen lake. He and his wife were able to escape, but weren't able to free his daughters before the plane sank in roughly 800 feet of water.

Neither the victims nor the aircraft in the accident were ever recovered from the lake, Johnson said.

"They are still in the plane," Johnson said. "It was out in the middle — it was very deep."


Source:   https://www.adn.com

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) UPDATE: 4:20 P.M. --    Crews recovered the co-pilots seat and three wheels of the Piper PA-28 Cherokee aircraft Friday, according to the National Park Service. The search for the four passengers on board will hopefully continue Saturday if weather cooperates.

The missing Piper PA-28 Cherokee aircraft that carried four Port Alsworth residents is presumed to have crashed Wednesday into the waters of Lake Clark.

The four passengers on board the plane have been identified as Port Alsworth residents Scott Blom, 45, his children, Kaitlyn Blom, 14, and Zach Blom, 13, and pilot Kyle Longerbeam, 25.

Megan Richotte, public affairs liaison for the Park Service, said weather has been the biggest challenge so far for search crews.

"Early December, this year is no exception, we usually have ice fog forming on the lake particularly in the night and in the morning," said Richotte. "As fog forms on the lake, visibility is really difficult so not only are we dealing with short daylight hours as well as cold temperatures we are also dealing with low viability for aircraft."

The Blom family released a statement late Friday afternoon regarding their loved ones on board the missing plane:

"On Wednesday, December 7th, an airplane with 4 people on board, all residents of Port Alsworth, Alaska, left Port Alsworth bound for Anchorage to cheer on their Tanalian Lynx volleyball team at the Alaska State Championships. When the plane did not arrive on time, search parties were deployed and eventually found debris and passengers’ belongings on the waters of Lake Clark. The search for more evidence continues.

The pilot was Alaskan guide and great friend to many, Kyle Longerbeam. The passengers were Scott Blom and his children, Kaitlyn Blom (14) and Zach Blom (13). The children were both well-loved honor roll students at Tanalian School of the Lake & Peninsula School District. Scott and his wife, Julie, spearheaded a nationwide leadership training program for college students and military cadets through Lifelines, a branch of Cru. The Bloms are based out of their home and lodge on Lake Clark and have a passion for serving Alaskans and helping them develop their own relationship with Jesus Christ. Scott Blom was also the boys basketball coach at Tanalian High School. Their oldest son, Josh, is a freshman at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Their second oldest son, Sam, is a senior and Student Body Vice President at Tanalian School.

The family is so grateful to all for the outpouring of love."

Update

The missing Piper PA-28 Cherokee aircraft that carried four Port Alsworth residents is presumed to have crashed into the waters of Lake Clark, according to the National Park Service. Search crews will be at Lake Clark today, if weather permits. Water in the area is around 375 feet deep.

According to a National Park Service press release, aboard the plane were four Port Alsworth residents: pilot Kyle Longerbeam, 25, Scott Blom, 45, and his children, Kaitlyn Blom, 14, and Zach Blom, 13.

The National Park Service and the National Transportation Safety Board focus on Lake Clark's waters, near the area where the passenger items and debris were found, says John Quinley, Associate Regional Director of Communications & Operations for the park service.

Depending on weather conditions, search crews will head out with boats and aircrafts, today, says Quinley. And on Saturday, an Alaska State Trooper helicopter will join the search effort.

Original Story

Debris believed to be from an aircraft that went missing on a flight from Port Alsworth to Anchorage on Wednesday was located in Lake Clark National Park earlier today, according to a press release from the National Park Service.

At about 3 p.m., items belonging to the occupants of the Piper PA-28 Cherokee were located floating on Lake Clark by searchers on a boat based in Port Alsworth. The items were found north and east of Port Alsworth.

According to John Quinley, Associate Regional Director for Communications & Operations for the park service, The families of the pilot and three passengers on board are being notified this evening.

The investigation, search and planning for recovery will continue on Friday

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



Blom family: photo courtesy Nate Davis, family spokesperson (Back row: Sam, Julie, Scott, Josh...Front row: Zach, Kaitlyn)


Lyle Longerbeam


Parts of the missing plane were recovered Friday, according to Lake Clark National Park and Preserve chief of interpretation, Megan Richotte. Richotte said three wheels and a co-pilot seat were found in Upper Lake Clark, near where the family’s luggage was found and about 11 miles from Port Alsworth.

The National Park Service has two skiffs on the lake, as well a Super Cub. Private aircrafts are assisting. Because of ice on the bay, NPS can’t put their boats in the water, Richotte explained. She added that another ariel search is planned for Saturday.

Updated at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 9

A single-engine Piper PA-28 with four passengers has presumably crashed into Lake Clark, according to a Friday release from National Park Service (NPS) spokesperson John Quinley.

“At this time no debris from the aircraft has been recovered,” wrote Quigley. “Water in the area is around 375 feet deep.”

Quigley confirmed the passengers on board are: 25-year-old pilot Kyle Longerbeam, 45-year-old Scott Blom and his children, 13-year-old Zach Blom and 14-year-old Kaitlyn Blom.

Searchers discovered debris floating on Lake Clark, inside of Lake Clark National Park Thursday afternoon, which they believe belongs to the passengers inside the plane.

No status of the passengers was immediately given.

The discovery was made around 3 p.m. Thursday. The items were discovered north and east of Port Alsworth. The family members of those on board were notified Thursday evening.

Search efforts will continue Friday, said Quigley. The NPS will use both air and watercraft in the search depending on ice conditions on the lake. A helicopter with the Alaska State Troopers is expected to join the search Saturday.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8

A search effort continues Thursday for a plane carrying four people that left Port Alsworth Wednesday morning for Anchorage.

Besides the pilot, the three passengers on the plane have been identified as Scott Blom and two of his children. According to Pastor Johan Knies of the Community Church of the Rockies in Grand Lake, Colorado, Blom, his wife Julie, and their four children live in Port Alsworth, Alaska.

Their mission biography on the church website shows the family bought a cabin in Port Alsworth and established the Alaskan Leadership Adventures Lodge. The family also does missionary work in other Alaska villages. Knies told KTVA this is a difficult time for the church and the family.

The plane left Port Alsworth around 10:30 a.m. and never arrived at its destination of Merrill Field, according to Clint Johnson, spokesperson with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The 176th Wing of the Alaska Air National Guard launched a search mission Wednesday using C-130 and MC-130 aircraft. The 210th Rescue Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base launched a HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter to assist.

The crews searched the areas north and south of Lake Clark Pass overnight Wednesday, but found no signs of the plane, according to Sgt. Edward Eagerton with the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center.

The plane, a Piper Pa-28-180 with four on board, was headed through Lake Clark pass on its way to Anchorage and was scheduled to arrive around 12 p.m. Wednesday.

Crews were unable to search inside the pass due to heavy fog, said Eagerton. He also said crews have not picked up any type of locator beacon from the plane.

The C-130 and HH-60 headed to the area again Thursday morning before sunrise to continue the search. Additionally, five aircraft from the Civil Air Patrol have joined in the search.

The MC-130, which helped in Wednesday’s search efforts, is from the California Air National Guard, currently conducting a training operation in Alaska. A para-rescue squad from the Alaska Air National Guard is on board the MC-130, according to Eagerton.

Source:   http://www.ktva.com




Searchers were hoping for good weather Friday that would allow them to venture out onto Lake Clark to search for a plane with four aboard that apparently went down into the lake in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve shortly after takeoff from Port Alsworth, Alaska.

"Items belonging to the passengers in the plane were located on Thursday afternoon on the lake, about 11 miles northeast of Port Alsworth. The single-engine Piper PA-28 is presumed to have crashed in the water, although at this time no debris from the aircraft has been recovered. Water in the area is around 375 feet deep," said John Quinley, associate regional director for communications and operations for the Park Service's Alaska operations.

"The plane was carrying four residents of Port Alsworth: pilot Kyle Longerbeam, 25; Scott Blom, 45, and his children, Zach Blom, 13, and Kaitlyn Blom, 14," said Mr. Quinley.

The weather forecast Friday for the area called for fog, light snow, and temperatures around 11 degrees, he said.

"National Park Service will use boats and aircraft depending on weather and ice conditions," said Mr. Quinley. "An Alaska State Trooper helicopter is expected to join the effort on Saturday. The National Transportation Safety Board is working closely with the Park Service."

The pilot was heading to Anchorage, about 175 miles northeast of the 4-million-acre Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

Source:   http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com




ANCHORAGE — A small airplane ferrying a father and his two teenage children to Anchorage presumably plunged into an expansive Alaska lake shortly after taking off from a nearby rural community, officials said Friday.

No bodies have been found, but items belonging to the pilot and three passengers on board were discovered floating Thursday in Lake Clark, said John Quinley, a spokesman for the National Park Service in Alaska.

The names of the four were released Friday, a day after families were notified that debris belonging to them had been located.

All four on board the single-engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee plane were from Port Alsworth, a small community about 170 miles southwest of Anchorage. They included the pilot, Kyle Longerbeam, 25; Scott Blom, 45, and his children, Kaitlyn Blom, 14, and Zach Blom, 13.

Quinley said the family had lived there for about three years.

The debris was found about 3 p.m. Thursday, about 11 miles northeast of Port Alsworth.

Searchers in boats and airplanes forced to stop work because it got dark returned at daybreak Friday to resume looking for the missing airplane in the 375-foot deep lake. An Alaska State Trooper helicopter was set to help searchers Saturday if needed.

Ice that would hinder searchers has not totally covered the 42-mile long lake, allowing access by boat.

The plane left Port Alsworth about 10 a.m. Wednesday and was due to land two hours later in Anchorage.

Responders said the initial search area was hampered by fog and darkness at Lake Clark Pass, a narrow mountain river valley that was believed to be part of the aircraft's flight path.

Searchers found no indication of any emergency locator beacon being activated in the area, Alaska Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Edward Eagerton said.