Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Pitts S2E Special, N30BJ, registered to and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred March 08, 2017 at Cox Airport (NC81), Apex, Wake County, North Carolina

Bruce C. Jordan
September 14, 1936 – March 8, 2017

Bruce was a veteran of the US Air Force and was employed with the EPA for over 25 years. Bruce had a passion for flying and built several small airplanes. Bruce was a faithful servant and member of Salem Baptist Church. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to many. Bruce was very giving of his time and resources knowing all that he had was a gift from the Lord. 


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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina 
Lycoming Engines; Atlanta, Georgia 

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



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



National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Factual Report

Location: Apex, NC
Accident Number: ERA17FA123
Date & Time: 03/08/2017, 1537 EST
Registration: N30BJ
Aircraft: JORDAN BRUCE C PITTS S2E
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis 

The pilot was returning to the airport from a local personal flight in the airplane. The airplane approached runway 9 at an angle before rolling inverted, descending, and impacting terrain, consistent with an aerodynamic stall. A review of weather conditions revealed that, on final approach, the airplane likely experienced a tailwind of about 9 knots with wind gusts as high as 20 knots. Pilots familiar with the airport reported that, due to the slope of the runway, pilots preferred to land on runway 9 unless there was a tailwind of more than 10 knots. Postaccident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operations. It is likely that, while maneuvering on final approach to the runway with a gusting tailwind, the pilot failed to maintain control of the airplane, which resulted in the exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack and an aerodynamic stall. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control during the final approach to the runway in gusting tailwind conditions, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and an aerodynamic stall.

Findings

Aircraft
Performance/control parameters - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Angle of attack - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Tailwind - Effect on operation (Cause)
Gusts - Effect on operation (Cause)


Factual Information

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On March 8, 2017, at 1537 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Pitts S2E, N30BJ, was substantially damaged after it impacted trees and terrain while on approach to Cox Airport (NC81), Apex, North Carolina. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal local flight, which originated about 1500.

According to witnesses, the airplane was descending on approach to runway 9 at NC81. One witness reported that, when the airplane passed overhead, the engine "sounded like it was running perfectly." Another witness reported seeing the airplane approaching the runway at an angle before the airplane went out of her line of sight. A third witness stated that the airplane "rolled inverted" before it impacted a field about 300 feet short of the threshold of runway 9. Several witnesses reported that they heard two "booms."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot was issued an FAA third-class medical certificate on October 17, 2016. According to the pilot's logbook, he had accumulated a total of 1,933.2 hours of flight time. In the previous year, he had accumulated 9.4 hours of flight time, all of which were in the accident airplane.



AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the two-place biplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on January 23, 2009. It was equipped with a 190-horsepower Lycoming HIO-360 series engine that drove a two-bladed Hartzell constant speed propeller. According to the airplane's maintenance logbooks, a condition inspection was completed on October 17, 2016, at a total time of 92.7 hours. Since that time, the pilot had flown the airplane for a total of 3.7 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1537, Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), Raleigh, North Carolina, located about 9 miles north of the accident location, reported the 2-minute average wind from 292° at 9 knots and the 5-second maximum average wind from 297° at 15 knots.

The observations from surrounding airports around the accident time indicated gusty surface wind conditions from the west through north. Wind gusts as high as 20 knots from 287° were observed as close as 12 minutes before the accident time at RDU.

The model sounding created for the accident site at 1500 indicated a surface wind from 295° at 10 knots with the wind remaining northwesterly through 10,000 ft. The wind increased in speed to 15 knots by 2,500 ft and to 30 knots by 9,000 ft. Light low-level wind shear was possible between the surface and 700 ft, and light to moderate clear-air turbulence was possible above 5,000 ft..

AERODROME INFORMATION

NC81 was a private airport located about 1 mile north of Apex, North Carolina, and it did not have an operating control tower. The airport was equipped with a turf runway designated as 9/27, which was 2,450 ft long by 75 ft wide. The airport elevation was 455 ft above mean sea level.

According to local pilots familiar with NC81, because of the sloped runway, some pilots would land with up to a 10-knot tailwind on runway 9 before they would decide to land into the wind on runway 27. The pilot's son stated that the pilot used runway 9 about 90% of the time, and, only used runway 27 if there was a strong wind.



WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted a pine tree before impacting the ground and came to rest, partially inverted, on the left wing. The fuselage was oriented on a 150° heading, and a ground scar was located about 15 ft before the main wreckage. A debris field began some distance beyond the pine tree and extended about 240 ft long on a 90° heading Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all the flight control surfaces. The lower left wing was bent aft, and the outboard section was separated and scattered along the debris path. A section of the lower left wingtip was located in the vicinity of the initial tree strike. The upper left wing was partially separated. The right wings remained attached to the fuselage and were bent forward. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. The right horizontal stabilizer and right elevator were undamaged. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained attached to the empennage, incurred skin damage, and were slightly bent. The left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator remained attached to the empennage, and the outboard sections of both the left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator were bent in a positive direction.

The propeller remained attached to the engine, and both blades exhibited chordwise scratching. In addition, one blade displayed leading edge gouging, and the other blade exhibited tip tearing and blade curling.

The engine remained attached to the airframe and was removed to facilitate further examination. The top cowling was removed, and several pine needles were noted on top of the cylinders, consistent in appearance with those found on the pine tree at the beginning of the wreckage path. The bottom section of the cowling was crushed upward by impact. Engine crankshaft continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the accessory section of the engine. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase, and thumb compression and suction were observed on all cylinders when the crankshaft was rotated by hand. The rocker box covers were removed, and no anomalies were noted with the valve springs and rocker arms. Valve train continuity was confirmed when the crankshaft was rotated through 360°. The throttle and mixture control cables remained attached to the controls in the cockpit but were cut to facilitate examination. Fuel was noted throughout the entire fuel system.



MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Raleigh, North Carolina, performed the autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy report indicated that the pilot's cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of the pilot. Fluid and tissue specimens from the pilot tested negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. Desmethylsildenafil, sildenafil, and valsartan were detected in the blood and urine. These medications are non-impairing.



Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 80, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/17/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/15/2016
Flight Time:  1933.2 hours (Total, all aircraft), 96.4 hours (Total, this make and model), 1678.7 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 2.7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: JORDAN BRUCE C
Registration: N30BJ
Model/Series: PITTS S2E E
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: BJ-3
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/17/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 
Time Since Last Inspection: 4 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 96.4 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: HIO-360-D1A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 190 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: RDU, 416 ft msl
Observation Time: 1537 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 26°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 25000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / -9°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots, 292°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting:  30.18 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Apex, NC (NC81)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Apex, NC (NC81)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1500 EST
Type of Airspace:



Airport Information

Airport: Cox Airport (NC81)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 455 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 09
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2450 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  35.752222, -78.864444




NTSB Identification: ERA17FA123
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 08, 2017 in Apex, NC
Aircraft: JORDAN BRUCE C PITTS S2E, registration: N30BJ
Injuries: 1 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 March 8, 2017, about 1535 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Pitts S2E, N30BJ, was substantially damaged after it impacted trees and terrain while on approach to Cox Airport (NC81), Apex, North Carolina. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated around 1500. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.


According to witnesses, the airplane was descending on approach to runway 9, and they reported that the engine "revved up," and "sounded like it was running perfectly." One witness reported seeing the airplane approaching the runway at an angle before the airplane went out of her line of sight. Then, several witnesses reported that they heard two "booms."


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate for with ratings airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate on October 17, 2016, with the limitation of "must wear corrective lenses." According to the pilot's logbook, he accumulated a total of 1933.2 hours of flight time. In the previous year, he had accumulated 9.4 hours of flight time, of which, all hours were in the accident airplane.


According to FAA records, the two-place biplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on January 23, 2009, and was registered to the pilot. In addition, it was equipped with a Lycoming HIO-360 series, 190-horsepower, engine that drove a two-bladed Hartzell constant speed propeller. According to airplane maintenance logbooks, a condition inspection was completed October 17, 2016, at a total time of 92.7 hours. Since that time, the pilot had flown the airplane for a total of 3.7 hours.


The airplane impacted a pine tree prior to impacting the ground and came to rest, partially inverted, on the left wing. The wreckage was oriented on a 150° heading, about 300 feet from the threshold of runway 9, and a ground scar was located about 15 feet prior to the main wreckage. All components of the airplane were located in the vicinity of the wreckage and the debris field was about 240 feet long on a 90° heading. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all the respective flight control surfaces. The lower left wing was bent aft and the outboard section was separated and scattered along the debris path. A section of the lower left wing tip was located in the vicinity of the initial tree strike. The upper left wing was partially separated and cut in half by first responders. The right wings remained attached to the fuselage and were bent forward. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. The right horizontal stabilizer and right elevator were undamaged. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained attached to the empennage, incurred skin damage, and were slightly bent. The left horizontal stabilizer and elevator remained attached to the empennage, however, the outboard sections of both the horizontal stabilizer and left elevator were bent in a positive direction.


The propeller remained attached to the engine and both blades exhibited chordwise scratching. In addition, one blade displayed leading edge gouging and the other blade exhibited tip tearing and blade curling.


The engine remained attached to the airframe through all engine mounts and was removed to facilitate further examination. The top cowling was removed and several pine needles were noted on top of the cylinders. The bottom section of the cowling was impact crushed in the positive (upward) direction. Engine crankshaft continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the accessory section of the engine. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase and thumb compression and suction was observed on all cylinders. The rocker box covers were removed and no anomalies were noted with the valve springs and rocker arms. Valvetrain continuity was confirmed when the crankshaft was rotated through 360-degrees of motion. The throttle and mixture control cables remained attached to the controls in the cockpit but were cut to facilitate examination. Fuel was noted throughout the entire fuel system in the engine.


The 1551 recorded weather observation at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), Raleigh, North Carolina, which was about 9 miles to the north of the accident location, included wind from 300 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 25,000 feet above ground level, temperature 21 degrees C, dew point -9 degrees C; and an altimeter setting of 30.18 inches of mercury.


Cox Airport was a private use airport located 1 mile north of Apex, North Carolina, and did not have an operating control tower. The airport was equipped with a turf runway designated as 9/27, which was 2,450 feet long by 75 feet wide. The airport elevation was 455 feet above mean sea level.
Bruce C. Jordan
September 14, 1936 – March 8, 2017

Bruce was a veteran of the US Air Force and was employed with the EPA for over 25 years. Bruce had a passion for flying and built several small airplanes. Bruce was a faithful servant and member of Salem Baptist Church. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to many. Bruce was very giving of his time and resources knowing all that he had was a gift from the Lord. 


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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina 
Lycoming Engines; Atlanta, Georgia 

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



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



National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Factual Report

Location: Apex, NC
Accident Number: ERA17FA123
Date & Time: 03/08/2017, 1537 EST
Registration: N30BJ
Aircraft: JORDAN BRUCE C PITTS S2E
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On March 8, 2017, at 1537 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Pitts S2E, N30BJ, was substantially damaged after it impacted trees and terrain while on approach to Cox Airport (NC81), Apex, North Carolina. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal local flight, which originated about 1500.

According to witnesses, the airplane was descending on approach to runway 9 at NC81. One witness reported that, when the airplane passed overhead, the engine "sounded like it was running perfectly." Another witness reported seeing the airplane approaching the runway at an angle before the airplane went out of her line of sight. A third witness stated that the airplane "rolled inverted" before it impacted a field about 300 feet short of the threshold of runway 9. Several witnesses reported that they heard two "booms."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot was issued an FAA third-class medical certificate on October 17, 2016. According to the pilot's logbook, he had accumulated a total of 1,933.2 hours of flight time. In the previous year, he had accumulated 9.4 hours of flight time, all of which were in the accident airplane.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the two-place biplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on January 23, 2009. It was equipped with a 190-horsepower Lycoming HIO-360 series engine that drove a two-bladed Hartzell constant speed propeller. According to the airplane's maintenance logbooks, a condition inspection was completed on October 17, 2016, at a total time of 92.7 hours. Since that time, the pilot had flown the airplane for a total of 3.7 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1537, Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), Raleigh, North Carolina, located about 9 miles north of the accident location, reported the 2-minute average wind from 292° at 9 knots and the 5-second maximum average wind from 297° at 15 knots.

The observations from surrounding airports around the accident time indicated gusty surface wind conditions from the west through north. Wind gusts as high as 20 knots from 287° were observed as close as 12 minutes before the accident time at RDU.

The model sounding created for the accident site at 1500 indicated a surface wind from 295° at 10 knots with the wind remaining northwesterly through 10,000 ft. The wind increased in speed to 15 knots by 2,500 ft and to 30 knots by 9,000 ft. Light low-level wind shear was possible between the surface and 700 ft, and light to moderate clear-air turbulence was possible above 5,000 ft..

AERODROME INFORMATION

NC81 was a private airport located about 1 mile north of Apex, North Carolina, and it did not have an operating control tower. The airport was equipped with a turf runway designated as 9/27, which was 2,450 ft long by 75 ft wide. The airport elevation was 455 ft above mean sea level.

According to local pilots familiar with NC81, because of the sloped runway, some pilots would land with up to a 10-knot tailwind on runway 9 before they would decide to land into the wind on runway 27. The pilot's son stated that the pilot used runway 9 about 90% of the time, and, only used runway 27 if there was a strong wind.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted a pine tree before impacting the ground and came to rest, partially inverted, on the left wing. The fuselage was oriented on a 150° heading, and a ground scar was located about 15 ft before the main wreckage. A debris field began some distance beyond the pine tree and extended about 240 ft long on a 90° heading Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all the flight control surfaces. The lower left wing was bent aft, and the outboard section was separated and scattered along the debris path. A section of the lower left wingtip was located in the vicinity of the initial tree strike. The upper left wing was partially separated. The right wings remained attached to the fuselage and were bent forward. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. The right horizontal stabilizer and right elevator were undamaged. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained attached to the empennage, incurred skin damage, and were slightly bent. The left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator remained attached to the empennage, and the outboard sections of both the left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator were bent in a positive direction.

The propeller remained attached to the engine, and both blades exhibited chordwise scratching. In addition, one blade displayed leading edge gouging, and the other blade exhibited tip tearing and blade curling.

The engine remained attached to the airframe and was removed to facilitate further examination. The top cowling was removed, and several pine needles were noted on top of the cylinders, consistent in appearance with those found on the pine tree at the beginning of the wreckage path. The bottom section of the cowling was crushed upward by impact. Engine crankshaft continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the accessory section of the engine. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase, and thumb compression and suction were observed on all cylinders when the crankshaft was rotated by hand. The rocker box covers were removed, and no anomalies were noted with the valve springs and rocker arms. Valve train continuity was confirmed when the crankshaft was rotated through 360°. The throttle and mixture control cables remained attached to the controls in the cockpit but were cut to facilitate examination. Fuel was noted throughout the entire fuel system.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Raleigh, North Carolina, performed the autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy report indicated that the pilot's cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of the pilot. Fluid and tissue specimens from the pilot tested negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. Desmethylsildenafil, sildenafil, and valsartan were detected in the blood and urine. These medications are non-impairing.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 80, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/17/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/15/2016
Flight Time:  1933.2 hours (Total, all aircraft), 96.4 hours (Total, this make and model), 1678.7 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 2.7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: JORDAN BRUCE C
Registration: N30BJ
Model/Series: PITTS S2E E
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: BJ-3
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/17/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 
Time Since Last Inspection: 4 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 96.4 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: HIO-360-D1A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 190 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: RDU, 416 ft msl
Observation Time: 1537 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 26°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 25000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / -9°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots, 292°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting:  30.18 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Apex, NC (NC81)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Apex, NC (NC81)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1500 EST
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Cox Airport (NC81)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 455 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 09
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2450 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  35.752222, -78.864444



NTSB Identification: ERA17FA123
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 08, 2017 in Apex, NC
Aircraft: JORDAN BRUCE C PITTS S2E, registration: N30BJ
Injuries: 1 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 March 8, 2017, about 1535 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Pitts S2E, N30BJ, was substantially damaged after it impacted trees and terrain while on approach to Cox Airport (NC81), Apex, North Carolina. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated around 1500. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.


According to witnesses, the airplane was descending on approach to runway 9, and they reported that the engine "revved up," and "sounded like it was running perfectly." One witness reported seeing the airplane approaching the runway at an angle before the airplane went out of her line of sight. Then, several witnesses reported that they heard two "booms."


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate for with ratings airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate on October 17, 2016, with the limitation of "must wear corrective lenses." According to the pilot's logbook, he accumulated a total of 1933.2 hours of flight time. In the previous year, he had accumulated 9.4 hours of flight time, of which, all hours were in the accident airplane.


According to FAA records, the two-place biplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on January 23, 2009, and was registered to the pilot. In addition, it was equipped with a Lycoming HIO-360 series, 190-horsepower, engine that drove a two-bladed Hartzell constant speed propeller. According to airplane maintenance logbooks, a condition inspection was completed October 17, 2016, at a total time of 92.7 hours. Since that time, the pilot had flown the airplane for a total of 3.7 hours.


The airplane impacted a pine tree prior to impacting the ground and came to rest, partially inverted, on the left wing. The wreckage was oriented on a 150° heading, about 300 feet from the threshold of runway 9, and a ground scar was located about 15 feet prior to the main wreckage. All components of the airplane were located in the vicinity of the wreckage and the debris field was about 240 feet long on a 90° heading. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all the respective flight control surfaces. The lower left wing was bent aft and the outboard section was separated and scattered along the debris path. A section of the lower left wing tip was located in the vicinity of the initial tree strike. The upper left wing was partially separated and cut in half by first responders. The right wings remained attached to the fuselage and were bent forward. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. The right horizontal stabilizer and right elevator were undamaged. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained attached to the empennage, incurred skin damage, and were slightly bent. The left horizontal stabilizer and elevator remained attached to the empennage, however, the outboard sections of both the horizontal stabilizer and left elevator were bent in a positive direction.


The propeller remained attached to the engine and both blades exhibited chordwise scratching. In addition, one blade displayed leading edge gouging and the other blade exhibited tip tearing and blade curling.


The engine remained attached to the airframe through all engine mounts and was removed to facilitate further examination. The top cowling was removed and several pine needles were noted on top of the cylinders. The bottom section of the cowling was impact crushed in the positive (upward) direction. Engine crankshaft continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the accessory section of the engine. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase and thumb compression and suction was observed on all cylinders. The rocker box covers were removed and no anomalies were noted with the valve springs and rocker arms. Valvetrain continuity was confirmed when the crankshaft was rotated through 360-degrees of motion. The throttle and mixture control cables remained attached to the controls in the cockpit but were cut to facilitate examination. Fuel was noted throughout the entire fuel system in the engine.


The 1551 recorded weather observation at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), Raleigh, North Carolina, which was about 9 miles to the north of the accident location, included wind from 300 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 25,000 feet above ground level, temperature 21 degrees C, dew point -9 degrees C; and an altimeter setting of 30.18 inches of mercury.


Cox Airport was a private use airport located 1 mile north of Apex, North Carolina, and did not have an operating control tower. The airport was equipped with a turf runway designated as 9/27, which was 2,450 feet long by 75 feet wide. The airport elevation was 455 feet above mean sea level.








Bruce C. Jordan, 80, of Cary, died Wednesday, March 8, 2017 following a plane crash in Apex, NC.

Bruce was born September 14, 1936 in Henderson, NC to the late Bruce and Natalie Seaman Jordan. He was a veteran of the US Air Force and was employed with the EPA for over 25 years. Bruce had a passion for flying and built several small airplanes. Bruce was a faithful servant and member of Salem Baptist Church. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to many. Bruce was very giving of his time and resources knowing all that he had was a gift from the Lord. 

Bruce is survived by his wife of 57 years, Peggy Jordan; daughter, Tammy Pressley and husband, Mark; son, Michael Jordan and wife, Katina; grandchildren, Jordan Pressley and wife, Ashley, Megan Pressley Budway and husband, Forrest, Josiah Jordan and Kenan Jordan; brother, Bob Mitchell and wife, Pat; sisters, Lillie Reavis, Ruth Moss, and Becky Taylor and husband, Warren. 

A Funeral Service will be held at 2pm Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at Salem Baptist Church, 1821 N. Salem Street, Apex, NC 27523. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends immediately following the service in the fellowship hall. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Senior Adult Ministry at Salem Baptist Church. 







Apex, N.C. — The pilot of a Pitts S2E Special plane died Wednesday afternoon in a crash into the private Cox Airfield off U.S. Highway 64 north of Apex.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol identified the pilot Wednesday night as 80-year-old Bruce Clyde Jordan Jr.

According to registry documents, the plane was owned by Jordan, of 6905 Wade Drive in Cary. Troopers said the plane was built from a kit by Jordan in 2009.

Sgt. Michael Baker, a spokesman for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, said Jordan was coming in for a landing when he clipped a tree and the plane plowed into the ground.

Weather did not appear to have been a factor. At the time of the crash, just before 4 p.m., skies were clear and winds were gusting to 18 mph.

The archive of the National Transportation Safety Board lists one other crash in the history of the Cox Airfield. In December 1982, two aircraft collided in midair after the pilots failed to see one another. No one was killed in that crash.

Story and video:  http://www.wral.com





















APEX, N.C. (WNCN) – The pilot of a small aircraft died when his plane crashed near a small airfield in Apex Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

APitts S2E Special aircraft crashed near the Cox Field Airport in Apex, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The plane is believed to have clipped trees as it attempted to land.

The pilot was injured during the crash and later died.

The FAA is investigating the incident while the National Transportation Safety Board take the lead in that investigation.

Story and video:  http://wncn.com

1 comment:

Daytona Shelby said...

So sad. Two things caught my attention while reading this article. 1.) The plane crashed 300' from the threshold to runway 9 while on approach. The nearest wind report was 9 miles away with wind coming from 300 degrees @ 7kts. Shouldn't he have been using runway 27 into the wind with it coming from his right instead of landing with a tailwind? Also, reports of gusts at 18mph doesn't sound appealing. 2.) The pilot only flew 9.4hrs in the previous 12 months which in my opinion in not enough to stay proficient. R.I.P. fellow aviator