Saturday, July 22, 2017

Vans RV-7, N307AB: Fatal accident occurred December 10, 2015 near General Dick Stout Field Airport (1L8), Hurricane, Washington County, Utah

"Our Christmas photo session 2010 with our last plane a Beech Debonair," Bonnie Ackerman posted on her Facebook page, date and location unspecified.


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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah 

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

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

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


http://registry.faa.gov/N307AB



NTSB Identification: WPR16FA036
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 10, 2015 in Hurricane, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/20/2017
Aircraft: BARNETT ALLEN S RV7, registration: N307AB
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 airline transport pilot was conducting a local personal flight in the experimental amateur built airplane, with one passenger on board. Several witnesses located near the accident site reported that they heard the airplane's engine and that it sounded like it was making power changes. The witnesses added that they then saw airplane debris floating in the air. One witness stated that the engine was running during the entire descent and that he saw the airplane spiraling and descending in a cork-screw type maneuver. Another witness reported seeing the airplane inverted at a low altitude just before impact. 

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed damage to the horizontal stabilizers and elevators that was consistent with a downward failure in positive overload. The loads required to fail the horizontal stabilizers and elevators cannot be generated from normal flight or control movements. Such failures would have required an abrupt pull back on the stick and corresponding movement of the elevator to a trailing-edge-up position, at speeds greater than the airplane's maneuvering speed. Failure of the horizontal tail first would have caused the airplane to pitch down rapidly, producing air loads on the upper surface of the wing that were sufficient to fail them in negative overload. The damage observed on the wings was consistent with a downward failure in negative overload. Additionally, there were no indications of any pre-existing cracks or anomalies with the horizontal stabilizers, elevators, or wing structures and no pre-accident anomalies were observed that would have precluded normal control of the airplane.

A review of the weather information indicated that there were likely low-level winds gusting from 26 to 46 knots at the time of the accident and that moderate-to-severe turbulence likely existed at the accident site. The weather conditions likely contributed to the in-flight breakup by either aggravating a flight maneuver or preventing a recovery from a loss of airplane control.

Although doxylamine was detected in the pilot's liver it was not detected in the blood; therefore, it is unlikely that it was causing any performance decrements that would have affected the pilot at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's abrupt flight control inputs, likely above the maneuvering speed, in severe winds and turbulence conditions, which resulted in an in-flight breakup.

Shawn Arthur Ackerman, 56, and Bonnie Bergstrom Ackerman, 49, died in an airplane crash near Sand Hollow Reservoir in Hurricane, Utah.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT 

On December 10, 2015, about 1347 mountain standard time, an experimental amateur built, RV-7 airplane, N307AB, experienced an in-flight break up and then impacted terrain about 3 miles west of General Dick Stout Field Airport, Hurricane, Utah. The airline transport pilot and passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and was being operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed near the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight departed from an unknown airport at an undetermined time.

Several witnesses located near the accident site stated that they heard the airplane's engine and that it sounded like it was making power changes. The witnesses added that they saw airplane debris floating in the air. One witness stated that the engine was running during the entire descent and that he also observed the airplane spiraling and descending in a cork-screw type maneuver. Another witness reported seeing the airplane inverted at a low altitude just before impact. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION 

The pilot, held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane multi-engine land, single-engine land, instrument, and instructor single-engine land ratings. The pilot was issued a first-class Federal Aviation Administration airman medical certificate on October 22, 2015, with the limitation that he must have glasses available for near vision. The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate application that he had accumulated 17,359 total flight hours, 403 flight hours of which were accumulated in the previous 180 days. 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION 

The two-seat, low-wing, fixed-gear airplane, was assembled in 2011, and it was issued an airworthiness certificate certified for aerobatic maneuvers in March 2011. It was powered by an experimental 180-horsepower ECI/Titan IO-360 reciprocating engine. The engine was equipped with a Whirlwind 200RV propeller. The last documented inspection was a conditional inspection that was completed on May 15, 2015, at an airframe time of 258.9 hours. 

The airplane's manufacturer website listed the maximum load factor as positive +6 g and a minimum load factor as -3 g. Additionally, the Pilot's Operating Handbook lists the maneuvering speed (Va) as 142 mph. In the remarks, it stated, "do not make full control movements above this speed. Full elevator deflection will result in a 6g load at this speed." Any speed greater than Va with full control application could result in g-loads that exceeded the design limits.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1355 recorded weather observation at Saint George Regional Airport, Saint George, Utah, located about 12 miles west-southwest from the accident site, reported calm wind, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 12° C, dew point -2° C, and an altimeter setting of 29.87 inches of mercury. 

The accident site was located between a cold front to the northwest and a high-pressure area to the southwest, in an area of strong-pressure gradient. A model sounding, which included a wind profile, for the area over the accident site about the time of the accident, estimated that the surface horizontal wind speed was estimated to be 220° at 8 knots, with winds increasing in speed with height and veering to the west. The mean 0-to-18,000 ft mean sea level (msl) winds were from 250° at 52 knots. The model supported light-to-moderate clear air turbulence from 6,400 through 8,000 ft msl, and mountain wave development from 10,000 to 12,000 ft msl. 

Pilot reports noted evidence of mountain wave activity in the region but with moderate-to-severe turbulence near the accident site; at 6,500 ft msl, consistent with the model sounding. An AIRMET for moderate turbulence below 18,000 ft, was active over the accident site at the accident time. No SIGMET was active for the accident site at the accident time.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION 

The airplane wreckage was located about 4.2 miles southwest of Hurricane, Utah, on flat sagebrush-covered terrain on top of a mesa. The debris path was about 1,460 ft long and 450 ft wide. All major components of the airplane were located in the debris path. 

The main airplane wreckage was located almost at the northern extent of the debris field and included the fuselage, engine, right wing, half of the left wing, a majority of the left and right elevators, and the lower half of the rudder. The vertical stabilizer with the upper half of the rudder attached was located at the southern extent of the debris field, located about 1,420 ft south-southwest of the main wreckage. The left and right horizontal stabilizers were located about 850 ft and 790 ft, respectively, south of the main wreckage. The left aileron was located about 430 ft south-southwest of the main wreckage, and the left outboard wing was located about 320 ft south-southwest of the main wreckage.

The main wreckage was found inverted. There were no noticeable ground scars leading up to the wreckage. The fuselage was intact, but the upper half was crushed. The canopy frame was separated from the airframe and located about 55 ft northeast of the main wreckage. Most of the acrylic canopy was fractured from the frame and found in many pieces in the debris field. The engine remained attached to the fuselage. One of the composite propeller blades was fractured from the hub and the other blade was missing the tip portion. Debris consistent with propeller material was found around the main wreckage. The examination of the engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The main landing gear remained attached to the lower fuselage, and there was some deformation at the attachment points.

The entire right wing remained attached to the fuselage with the flap and aileron attached. The right flap was in the "up" position. The outboard half of the right wing was deformed downward about 15º to 20º at the flap/aileron junction, located about 57 inches outboard of the wing attachment point. The upper and lower wing skins were buckled around the area where the wing was deformed downward. The right fiberglass wingtip remained attached to the wing but was splayed open at the trailing edge. 

The inboard half of the left wing remained attached to the fuselage with the flap attached. The left flap was in the "up" position. The outboard half of the left wing had separated at the flap/aileron junction located about 57 inches outboard of the wing attachment point. The main spar fractured at the location where the upper and lower spar caps undergo a net section decrease from inboard to outboard. The outboard half of the left wing was mostly intact with minimal damage noted.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION 

The Utah Department of Health, Office of the Medical Examiner, conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was "blunt force trauma."

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing specimens from the pilot. Testing results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and volatiles. The testing detected doxylamine in the liver but not in the blood and ibuprofen in the blood.

Doxylamine is an over-the-counter antihistamine medication that can be used in combination with decongestants and other medications to relieve sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion caused by the common cold and can be sedating. Ibuprofen is used to reduce fever and to relieve minor aches and pains from headaches, muscle aches, arthritis, the common cold etc.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Structures Examination

A postaccident examination of the inboard and outboard wing sections at the fracture location revealed that the fracture exhibited damage and deformation consistent with the separation of the outboard portion of the wing in a downward direction. The horizontal stabilizer forward spar fractured about 2 inches outboard of the side of the fuselage on both sides. Both of the horizontal stabilizer spar caps were deformed down and aft at the fracture location. The elevators were deformed down and aft matching the spar deformation. 

The left and right horizontal stabilizers were found in the debris field. The outboard elevator hinges remained attached to both stabilizers and the hinges were pulled from the elevators. About 18 inches of the outboard portion of horizontal stabilizer rear spar on each side remained installed in the horizontal stabilizers. The upper and lower skins separated from the remainder of the rear spar along the rivet lines. There was buckling damage on the lower skin of both horizontal stabilizers consistent with the stabilizers separating downward. 

Control continuity was established from the cockpit controls to the elevators and the right aileron. The left aileron controls cables were fractured and had a splayed, broom-strawed appearance, consistent with tension overload. The rudder cables were jammed somewhere in the fuselage, and control continuity could not be established, but the cables remained attached at the rudder and the pedals.

All the fractures exhibited a dull, grainy appearance consistent with overstress separation. There was no evidence of progressive or pre-existing fractures on any of the parts.

Electronic Devices

No flight data for the accident flight could be recovered from the electronic devices found in the wreckage. However, a GoPro Hero 4 camera, which had sustained significant impact damage, revealed two files recorded on previous flights in which the accident airplane performed an aileron roll to the right.

Radar Data:

A review of the radar track from commercially available sources revealed two tracks that were consistent with the accident airplane. The first track was 17 minutes long and ended at 1332 when the airplane was at 6,150 ft. Altitudes throughout the track varied from 6,150 to 9,350 ft, and the groundspeed varied between 24 and 168 knots. Most of the first half of the track show the airplane climbing, and the second half of the track shows the airplane descending. The track shows the airplane flying west and then performing a couple of circling maneuvers and in slow flight. The airplane then turned south and shortly thereafter, it makes a right northerly turn.

The second track, which may be associated with the accident airplane, started at 1336 when the airplane was at 6,625 ft. The data only shows 1 minute of flight. The heading is nearly south, and the groundspeed range is between 127 and 133 knots.

Weight and Balance

The distribution of the airplane contents throughout the debris field prevented an accurate weight and balance assessment and the airplane's most recent weight and balance records were not located. Therefore, an estimated weight and balance calculation was conducted. According to the airplane's kit manufacturer, the airplane had a maximum factory basic weight of 1,114 lbs and a useful load of 686 lbs. The medical examiner reported that the total weight of the occupants was 306 lbs. Assuming a total fuel load of 42 gallons, the airplane would have been about 128 lbs below its maximum gross weight of 1,800 lbs at the time of the accident.



NTSB Identification: WPR16FA036 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 10, 2015 in Hurricane, UT
Aircraft: BARNETT ALLEN S RV7, registration: N307AB
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On December 10, 2015, about 1347 mountain standard time, a Barnett Allen Experimental amateur built, Vans Aircraft, Inc., RV7 airplane, N307AB, experienced an inflight break up, and sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain about 3 miles west of the General Dick Stout Field Airport, Hurricane, Utah. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The airline transport pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual (VMC) meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The local personal flight departed from an unknown airport at an undetermined time.

Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board, investigator-in-charge revealed that the debris path was about ½ mile long. All major components of the airplane were discovered in the debris path. The first piece observed was the vertical stabilizer with the upper portion of the rudder attached. The left wing separated about mid span and both horizontal stabilizers also separated and were scattered throughout the center of the debris field. 

Several witnesses observed airplane debris floating in the air. The witnesses stated that the airplane's engine sounded like it was making power changes. One witness stated that the engine was running the entire descent. He observed the airplane spiraling and descending in a cork screw type maneuver. Another witness observed the airplane inverted at a low altitude just prior to impact. 

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

Accident occurred July 22, 2017 in Suffolk, Virginia




SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia State Police and Suffolk Fire & Rescue responded to a plane crash Saturday night.

According to Virginia State Police, the call came in at 7:58 p.m. for a fixed wing single engine Piper aircraft that crashed near the intersection of Cherrygrove Road and Greenway Road in Suffolk.

Troopers report the plane has been located in an open field off Cherrygrove Road and Greenway Road and the pilot is no longer on scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified.

Tim Kelly with Suffolk Fire & Rescue say that there were no reported injuries.

http://wavy.com

Feds grant Keokuk Municipal Airport (KEOK) money for repairs

U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack from Iowa visits with airport manager Greg Gobble. 




KEOKUK, Ia. (WGEM) -

Residents will start seeing some construction at Keokuk's airport in the coming months.

Local private pilots and businesses use Keokuk's municipal airport so they have a place to land. However, there's one problem. Trees are starting to take over the runway. That's why the Federal Aviation Administration is granting nearly $400,000 to clean it up. Without it, officials say the F-A-A would have to address the safety hazard by shortening the runway.

Congressman Dave Loebsack said at the airport on Friday that the government grant shows commitment to aviation in small communities.

"Airports all over America are really important for economic development," said U.S. Rep Dave Loebsack (D) Iowa. "And certainly in a smaller community, like Keokuk, this airport is absolutely critical."

"The Iowa delegation has always seen a need for aviation, and especially as Iowa's a rural state," Airport Manager Greg Gobble said. "But we want to be connected to the rest of the world, economic development wise and plus convenience for the citizen." 

The airport will be working with local landowners to remove the trees this fall. They will have to contend with concerns about the habitat of the endangered Indiana bat , but officials say that's standard when removing trees and the project is expected to be completed in a year.

Watch video: http://www.wgem.com

Eclipse will drive heavy air traffic to Salem Municipal Airport - McNary Field (KSLE)




With a million visitors destined for Oregon to view the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, gridlock is a guarantee.

Not just in our cities and on our highways, but also in our skies and on our runways.


Salem Municipal Airport is bracing for one of its biggest traffic days in recent history, maybe ever.


At least 115 private and chartered aircraft from up and down the West Coast are scheduled to descend on McNary Field — with 20 on a waiting list — and that’s in addition to the 175 aircraft that are based at McNary Field.


Independence State Airport is expecting a capacity crowd of about 250 airplanes carrying on after a regularly scheduled fly-in.




No viewing parties are being staged at either airport, and no camping is allowed on either property. 


“The big event,” Salem airport manager John Paskell said, “is up in the sky.”


Local airports are in uncharted territory, alongside all the other municipalities, businesses, and organizations preparing for the first total solar eclipse on U.S. mainland in nearly four decades (1979) and the first coast-to-coast one in nearly a century (1918).


The last time we experienced the eclipse, Salem was on the edge of the path of totality, the path the moon's shadow traces on the Earth during a solar eclipse. This time we’re in the sweet spot.


Paskell has been working closely with Ron Peters, manager of Salem Aviation Fueling, and Robert Broyhill, the air traffic manager for the Salem Control Tower, to coordinate a plan for accommodating more aircraft, more takeoffs and landings, plus all the pilots and passengers who come along for the ride.




Getting extra assistance


They want to put their best wing forward, so they brought in a consultant, Greg Miller, who has been involved with staging large-scale events such as the Super Bowl.


“There’s not a lot of experienced folks out there we can contact about how to manage an event like this,” Paskell said.


Salem airport capped capacity based on a number of factors, including the limited number of tie-downs, which is where visiting aircraft can park and be secure.


“From a customer service standpoint, we want to invite everybody,” Paskell said. “We’d like as many aircraft to come to Salem as possible, but the reality is we’ve got limited space and limited resources.”


The increased traffic on the runways, and in the air, will be “super compressed” into a short window of just a few hours because most visitors will fly in the morning of the eclipse and fly out early that same afternoon.


Salem airport will have all hands on deck to handle the flock of aircraft coming from California, Washington and Idaho and the hundreds of passengers who will be stepping out of those aircraft and onto the apron, the official term according to the FAA for what many of us refer to as the tarmac.




More services for a variety of planes


Officials will bring in a dozen portable bathrooms and some dumpsters for garbage. The Flight Deck Restaurant will serve an outdoor breakfast buffet the morning of the eclipse.


Among the visitors will be a group of scientists from California that will be shuttled in on a corporate jet, and members of a flying club from Washington that will be traveling in 30 small aircraft.


While most of the incoming will be what Peters calls “mom and pop” planes, some of the larger aircraft expected to land at McNary Field for the eclipse include a Beechcraft 1900, a Gulfstream 450, a Learjet 35, and maybe even a Boeing 737.


Although Salem doesn’t have commercial service and hasn’t since 2008, it can handle a twinjet airliner. It did just a few months ago when an Alaska Airlines flight was diverted here, refueled, and then took off. The airport is filed as an alternative when needed by Alaska and Southwest Airlines.


The 58-foot tower at McNary Field will be staffed more than usual on the day of the eclipse, although I’m told the crew won’t approach it any differently than the other 364 days this year.


Ron Peters


Most everyone who works on site, including airport management and fuel services, will be clocking in on the eve of the eclipse so no one has to fret about getting stuck in traffic or not being able to make it in.


No one can or will say how quickly the tower will be able to shuffle aircraft on and off the runways and taxiways because there are so many variables. It depends on the size and speed of the aircraft, for example, and how many aircraft are outside Salem’s airspace.


Salem’s airspace is roughly a five-mile radius and up to 2,500 feet. Anyone who enters that airspace is required to communicate with the tower at McNary Field.


The airport has two runways, giving it an advantage when it comes to traffic flow. Paskell said both will be used simultaneously, allowing one aircraft to be taxiing off while another is landing, and also keeping a path clear for local tenants to get in and out of their hangars.


John Paskell


Many local pilots plan to fly that day just so they can enter “2017 Solar Eclipse” in their log book. Some want to be in the air when the moon obscures the sun and creates total darkness in Salem for just under 2 minutes.


Airport management can control access and parking. The airport has a security fence and a limited number of tie-downs, all of which are expected to be utilized that day.


Salem Aviation Fueling will manage the parking and fueling of aircraft. Peters said all storage tanks would be topped off ahead of time and that he has the capacity for 30,000 gallons of fuel. He expects to have plenty to go around but is planning for an additional fueling vehicle or two to better service that many aircraft.


Some aircraft may only need 5-10 gallons of fuel, others 35-40 gallons, but a jet might need 3,000 gallons.


“We’re setup to handle what’s coming,” Peters said. “We’re certified, we have the staff, and we can do it in a safe manner.”




"It'll be the busiest day"


Still, he’s never experienced anything quite like what he anticipates that Monday, Aug. 21.


“In the 13 years I’ve been here, it’ll be the busiest day,” Peters said.


Dozens of choppers flying out of McNary Field in August 1996, for the World Helicopter Championships, might compare, or one of the big air shows in the 1970s and 1980s.


Back in 1963, on a mid-January Monday, Portland fog turned Salem into a busy “international” airport for most of the day. At one point, there were seven big airliners on the ground, another was landing, and another was taxiing for takeoff.


Today, Salem airport averages 200 operations a day. Each takeoff and landing is one operation. If every aircraft expected at the airport the day of the eclipse were to take off and land, including those based there, that would be nearly three times the average number of operations.




Independence State Airport will have a larger-than-normal turnout for its annual Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in the weekend before.


“Traditionally, this was the weekend it’s always been held on,” said Al Cleveland, president of EAA Chapter 292 of the Mid-Willamette Valley. “It just so happens the following Monday is an eclipse.”


Organizers must plan for an extra day because most of the 250 participants will stay through the solar event. While there is no tower at the airport in Independence, Cleveland said two veteran air traffic control personnel will be on the ground offering traffic advisories.


With their event at capacity, Cleveland had been sending inquiries to Salem airport, until he found out it was booked, too. The next-best option for anyone still hoping to find space at an area airport, he said, would be Corvallis or McMinnville.


If an aircraft were to approach Salem on the morning of the eclipse, without having secured a reservation, it could be diverted to another airport, although Paskell said that is unlikely.


He also said the FAA wouldn't restrict air traffic in most cases — unless President Donald Trump decides to come to Salem to view the eclipse.


Watch video: http://www.statesmanjournal.com

Canadian aircraft help battle Montana wildfires



KALISPELL -

Four super scoopers on lease from Canada are now in Montana and ready to help battle wildfires. The planes arrived a week ago and have already been deployed to the Lewistown fire burning in eastern Montana.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is hosting two Canadian CL-215 water scooping planes stationed in Kalispell as well as two based out of Lewistown.

"For our area here in northwest Montana, this is an extremely beneficial tool to have in our toolbox. It's capable of delivering thousands of gallons of water in a very short period of time," said Wyatt Frampton with the DNRC Northwest Land Office.

The scoopers plane skims water off a water body and is capable of filling its two 600-gallon tanks in just 10-seconds. Both tanks can be released  simultaneously or one at a time -- making it an extremely valuable resource in initial attacks.

"A lot of times when we get into the very high and extreme fire danger additional tools are required to effectively suppress fires and keep them small and so the super scoopers help us greatly with that it terms of delivering a large amount of water to give ground crews time to get in and contain the fire," Frampton said.

The scoopers will be available as needed to any fire management organization in the state but they're most effective working on fires that are within 25 miles of a water resource.

If you do see the scoopers near the water, be sure to move your boat to the shore while their battling the wildfire and also remember that drones will shut down aviation resources so make sure to keep them far away.

The scoopers are on loan from the Saskatchewan and are available through the Northwest Compact Agreement which the state of Montana is part of -- as are several other states and provinces.

Watch video:   http://www.kpax.com

A day in the life of an Air Traffic Controller at the ‘world’s most dangerous airport’

By Mukesh Dangol 





Jul 22, 2017-


A typical day at the Lukla Airport—high volume of air traffic and deteriorating weather. According to standard procedures, I along with my manager decide to close the airport. Having worked as Air Traffic Controllers for two years at what has been dubbed the “world’s most dangerous airport”, we both know that the weather here can turn in the blink of an eye. But as we report the status to Kathmandu, we learn that one of the commercial airliners has already taken off. 


This is not ideal.


Soon, the plane comes into radio contact. We again inform the flight crew about the status of the airport, the prevailing weather condition, and advise the plane to divert. The crew, however, continues to enter the Lukla valley. Flustered, we again repeat our advice, wondering what the crew is trying to do. Through the corner of our eyes we can see the plane approaching; but then, just as quickly as it appeared, the aircraft disappears into a thick fog we had been warning it against. 


As we wait with bated breath, my mind flashes back to all that has come to pass at the airport during my tenure here. There is hardly a dull day at the Tenzing Hillary Airport. Perched on precipitous cliff in the narrow Lukla valley, on a clear day, watching helicopters and planes fly in and out can be quite picturesque. But those days can be few and far in between. What scar you and stay with you are the days where things go from good to catastrophic in an instant.


Which is why, it is alarming that the aircraft we had just instructed to turn around disappeared into the thick fog. But it eventually does reappear through a small gap in the clouds. I hold my breath for a minute as it gears to touchdown on a runway. This is one of the last things you want to see as a tower controller: an aircraft descending through the clouds; in deteriorating weather; at Lukla airport; when you have already declared airport closed for operation. Today, the crew is lucky to have avoided anything untoward—needless to say, Lukla is not a place for bravado.   





With all the talk it generates about being one of the most dangerous airports in the world, it is overlooked that Lukla Airport is also one of the busiest in the country, particularly during the peak spring climbing season. For an airstrip that received merely 20 tourists in 1964, the airport sees an average of 40,000 tourists land every year now. And with only four parking bays for planes and six helipads, the narrow airspace makes traffic management quite challenging. 


A typical day in Lukla will see propeller aircraft—seating no more than 16 passengers—puttering hundred feet from the runway, beside the single terminal processing both passengers and cargo. And with airline companies and helicopter operators shuffling to land as many tourists as possible in the lucrative Khumbu region, things can get hectic as the season piles on. 


One of the reasons Lukla Airport is deemed dangerous is that the weather patterns in the region tend to be very unpredictable—here visibility and wind, key elements in aviation, change rather quickly. In general, the wind blows in a North Easterly direction in the morning and after 10am or so, the direction changes to South Westerly. The South Westerly wind becomes tailwind for the aircraft landing at the airport—posing a serious challenge. Whenever these tailwinds exceed ten knots, there is little option to close the airport. Moreover, fog and low clouds emanating from the Dudhkoshi River that cuts through the valley can reduce the visibility to below 5km—the minimum limit for operating the airport—in an instant. It is not uncommon to go from a clear spring day, to having the visibility reduced to 500m or even nil, within a matter of minutes at this airstrip. 




Lukla is also a very narrow valley flanked by steep terrain all around. There is a massive mountain towards the end of the runway in the direction that aircraft approach from. This means that planes can land from one direction only. In aviation, they call this the no go-around procedure—once the flight’s captain has committed to land, there is no going back. Add to this the fact that the runway in itself is just a little more than 500m long, and you have a combination of conditions that necessitate perfect co-ordination between the ATCs manning the tower and the crews angling for touchdown. And all this is done without navigational aids. Aircrafts in the Lukla valley operate under VFR conditions—which is to say pilots must use their knowledge of the area’s terrain and visual flying skills only. Which is why, I keep repeating, Lukla is no place for bravado.  


I often get asked, that given its notoriety, if Lukla Airport is safe. I always have the same answer—there are minor and major accidents at all airports. The airport staff and the flight crew take every precaution to conduct flights safely (except for exceptions like today). There, after all, is very little we can do about the terrain or the weather. And while dubbing it the ‘most dangerous airport’ might be a slight exaggeration, it is definitely one of the most trickiest and challenging airports in the world—given its topography and runway orientation. Having said that, it’s obvious that everybody visiting the Everest region will enjoy landing at Lukla Airport—a rare experience that you are bound to keep with you for the rest of your life.


Dangol is an officer at the Tourism Ministry and served as an ATC at Lukla Airport from 2013-15


http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com

Fatal accident occurred July 22, 2017 in Apple Valley, San Bernardino County, California

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




APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (VVNG.com) A single-engine plane went down in Apple Valley Saturday afternoon, killing the pilot.

The crash was reported at 2:17 p.m. outside the boundaries of the Apple Valley Airport, in the desert areas, east of Central and Johnson Roads.

Apple Valley Fire Protection firefighters were dispatched and located the plane with the assistance of the CHP Helicopter.

Fire Chief Sid Hultquist said they confirmed one person was killed but was unable to provide further details.

The Federal Aviation Administration will work with Law Enforcement in the investigation.

 http://www.vvng.com

Cessna 140, N90123: Fatal accident occurred December 06, 2015 in Keytesville, Chariton County, Missouri

Andrew Joseph Beautte

Dawn Lynn Harl



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

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

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

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N90123


NTSB Identification: CEN16FA054 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, December 06, 2015 in Keytesville, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/20/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 140, registration: N90123
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 non-instrument-rated pilot and one passenger departed at an unknown time from an unknown location into dark night conditions that were forecast to be marginal visual flight rules to instrument flight rules conditions. A witness observed the airplane circling overhead, and stated that the appearance of the airplane's exterior lights suggested that it was flying in clouds or fog. During the airplane's third orbit, the exterior lights became brighter as it descended out of the clouds, then abruptly descended to ground contact. An examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.

The pilot's logbooks were not recovered, and his total flight experience could not be determined. The pilot had a history of substance abuse and dependence involving methamphetamine, including multiple arrests and convictions related to drug use. However, he was reportedly in recovery at the time of his last medical examination in 2012. Toxicological testing on the pilot was positive for methamphetamine and its metabolite, amphetamine, at levels which suggested recreational use. Symptoms of recreational methamphetamine use follow a typical pattern. In the early phase, users experience euphoria, excitation, exhilaration, hallucinations, delusions, psychosis, increased alertness, a heightened sense of well-being, and poor impulse control. All of the symptoms caused by high doses of methamphetamine are impairing, but the fact that the noninstrument-rated pilot chose to take off without a weather briefing at night and flew into low clouds before losing control indicates the pilot was deliberately attempting a flight beyond his capabilities. Consistent with his very highly elevated blood levels, this suggests his poor decision-making was influenced by the euphoria and grandiosity conferred by the early phase effects of methamphetamine. Witness observations of the airplane circling in clouds or fog then descending to ground contact suggest that the impaired pilot most likely experienced spatial disorientation and a subsequent loss of airplane control.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The non-instrument-rated pilot's decision to operate in dark night conditions with low clouds, which resulted in a loss of control due to spatial disorientation. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's use of methamphetamine, which impaired his decision-making abilities.

Andrew Joseph Beautte


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 6, 2015, about 2110 central standard time, a Cessna 140 airplane, N90123, impacted terrain near Keytesville, Missouri. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight . Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, and the flight operated without a flight plan. The flight's point of origin and destination could not be determined.

A witness saw the airplane approach from the northeast and begin to make clockwise turns overhead. The diameter of the turns was estimated to be between ¼- and ½-mile wide. The lights of the airplane were visible overhead, but it appeared as though the airplane was in the clouds or fog. During the third overhead circle, the airplane's lights became brighter, as though it had flown out of the clouds, and the airplane turned south away from the witness. The airplane then abruptly descended toward terrain, and the witness heard the sound of an impact . The witness reported that the engine sounded normal before impact. He remarked that, due to the clouds, the stars were not visible; however, he could clearly see the lighted top of a 400-ft-tall tower.

The pilot was not in radio contact with any air traffic control facility.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot's logbook was not located during the course of the investigation, and his total flight experience and time flown at night could not be determined. The pilot did not hold an instrument rating and his instrument experience and training received are also not known. .

On his application for his medical certificate, the pilot reported having no flight time. He also reported a convictions for driving under the influence on February 29, 2012, and possession of a controlled substance on May 14, 2001, February 10, 2005, and July 14, 2008. In addition, he reported last using methamphetamines on October 28, 2011.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane's maintenance logbooks were not recovered during the investigation and the date of the last annual inspection could not be determined. In addition, it is unknown if any recent maintenance was performed on the airplane.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 2115 automated weather observation at Marshall Memorial Municipal Airport (MHL), located about 30 nautical miles southwest of the accident site, included wind from 350° at 4 knots, ceiling broken at 300 ft above ground level, temperature 39°F, dew point 37°F, and an altimeter setting of 30.33 inches of mercury. These conditions were likely representative of those at the accident site at the time of the accident. An AIRMET was valid for the area of the accident site from 2100 to 0300, with forecast ceilings below 1,000 ft and visibility below 3 miles with mist and fog. There was no record of the pilot obtaining a weather briefing from an access-controlled source before the flight.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart for 2100 depicted a low pressure system to the east of the accident site over Indiana with an occluded front extending southward and turning into a cold front across Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, into Louisiana, and off the Texas Gulf coast. An extensive area of low clouds extended from the low to the west and over the accident site. The station models in northern Missouri indicated northwest winds at 10 knots or less, overcast skies, with temperatures around 40°F with temperature-dew point spreads of less 6°F.

The NWS Weather Depiction Chart for 2200 depicted an extensive area of instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions over Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, and northern Missouri, with marginal visual flight rules (MVFR) conditions surrounding the area and extending into central and eastern Missouri and over the accident site. The closest reporting station indicated overcast clouds with a ceiling at 2,100 ft. The Low-Level Significant Weather Prognostic Chart at the time expected MVFR to IFR conditions over northern Missouri.

The North American Mesoscale (NAM) numerical model for 2100 indicated a relative humidity greater than 80% from the surface to 3,000 ft, with an expected cloud base at 50 ft above ground level. The model depicted surface conditions with wind from 320° at 5 kts, temperature 3.6°C (38.5°F), dew point 3.5°C (38.3°F), and relative humidity of 99%. The model supported fog and low stratiform clouds. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system (GOES-13) infrared image at 2115 indicated an area of low stratiform clouds and/or deep fog extended over northern Missouri and Iowa and over eastern Missouri and Illinois with cloud tops near 2,000 ft.



WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was located in an open hayfield. Impact signatures were consistent with a near-vertical impact with the terrain. All major components of the airplane were found at the accident site. Flight control continuity was established from the flight controls to their respective control surfaces. Both wings displayed accordion crushing along the entire length of their leading edges. The flaps appeared to be in the retracted position. The fuel selector was found in the right fuel tank position. Both wing fuel tanks contained fuel. The airspeed indicator read in excess of 160 mph. The altimeter Kollsman window read 30.00 inches.

The engine's upper spark plugs were removed and displayed normal wear. Engine continuity and compression were confirmed throughout the engine. One blade of the propeller was curled and displayed leading edge polishing of the blade. The other blade was missing several inches of its tip. No anomalies were detected with the airframe and engine.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was conducted on the pilot by the Boone/Callaway County Medical Examiner's Office, Springfield, Missouri, as authorized by the Chariton County Coroner. The cause of death was listed as blunt force injuries sustained in an aircraft accident, and the report stated that methamphetamine use may have contributed to the accident. In addition, thickening of the left ventricle of the heart was described in the autopsy report.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. Testing was negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. The following drugs were detected:

Amphetamine detected in liver
0.536 (ug/ml, ug/g) amphetamine detected in blood
8.49 (ug/ml, ug/g) methamphetamine detected in liver
5.07 (ug/ml, ug/g) methamphetamine detected in blood

Methamphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance and is used medically to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. Prescribed oral doses typically produce blood levels in the range of 0.02-0.05 ug/ml. Recreational users seeking intense euphoria snort, smoke, or inject the drug, and may often reach blood levels above 2.00 ug/ml. Methamphetamine levels reach peak blood concentration differently depending on mode of administration. Peak blood methamphetamine concentrations occur shortly after injection and a few minutes after smoking it. Peak blood concentrations of its psychoactive metabolite, amphetamine, occur around 10 hours after methamphetamine use.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Spatial Disorientation
The Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A) stated, "…the VFR pilot is, in effect, in IMC anytime he or she is inadvertently, or intentionally for an indeterminate period of time, unable to navigate or establish geographical position by visual reference to landmarks on the surface. These situations must be accepted by the pilot involved as a genuine emergency, requiring appropriate action…If the natural horizon were to suddenly disappear, the untrained instrument pilot would be subject to vertigo, spatial disorientation, and inevitable control loss."

The FAA Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, chapter 16, "Aeromedical Factors," stated, "Under normal flight conditions, when there is a visual reference to the horizon and ground, the sensory system in the inner ear helps to identify the pitch, roll, and yaw movements of the aircraft. When visual contact with the horizon is lost, the vestibular system becomes unreliable. Without visual references outside the aircraft, there are many situations in which normal motions and forces create convincing illusions that are difficult to overcome…Unless a pilot has many hours of training in instrument flight, flight should be avoided in reduced visibility or at night when the horizon is not visible. A pilot can reduce susceptibility to disorienting illusions through training and awareness, and learning to rely totally on flight instruments."



NTSB Identification: CEN16FA054
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, December 06, 2015 in Keytesville, MO
Aircraft: CESSNA 140, registration: N90123
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On December 6, 2015, about 2110 central standard time, a Cessna 140G airplane, N90123, impacted terrain near Keytesville, Missouri. The private pilot and passenger were both fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The flight operated without a flight plan. The flight's point of origin and destination are not known.

A witness saw the airplane approach from the northeast and begin to make clockwise turns overhead. The diameter of the turns was estimated to be between ¼ and ½ mile wide. The lights of the airplane were visible overhead but appeared as though the airplane was in the clouds or fog. On the third circle overhead the airplane's lights became brighter as though it had flown out of the clouds and the airplane turned towards the south away from the witness. The airplane then abruptly descended towards the terrain and the sound of an impact was heard. Prior to the accident, the witness reported that the engine sounded normal. He remarked that due to the clouds, the stars were not visible, however he was able to clearly see the lighted top of a 400' tall tower.

The wreckage was located in an open hay field. Impact signatures were consistent with a near vertical impact with the terrain. All major components of the airplane were found at the accident site. The airplane was examined and moved to a secure location.

The nearest aviation weather stations were 35+ nautical miles from the accident and did not reflect the weather described by the witness. A weather study will be conducted for the accident site.

At 2115, an automated weather reporting station located 37 nautical miles from the accident site reported a calm wind, visibility 7 miles, a clear sky, temperature 41° Fahrenheit (F), dew point 41° F, and a barometric pressure of 30.30 inches of mercury. At 2135, it reported wind from 300° at 4 knots, visibility 5 miles with mist, a broken ceiling at 700 feet, temperature 40° F, dew point 40° F, and a barometric pressure of 30.30 inches of mercury.