Friday, April 7, 2017

Piper PA-46-310P Malibu, Park City Aviation, N123SB: Fatal accident occurred April 07, 2017 near Mahlon Sweet Field Airport (KEUG), Harrisburg, Linn County, Oregon

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Oregon

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

Park City Aviation LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N123SB 

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA085
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 07, 2017 in Harrisburg, OR
Aircraft: PIPER PA 46-310P, registration: N123SB
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 April 7, 2017, about 1046 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-46-310P, N123SB, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Harrisburg, Oregon during an instrument approach to Mahlon Sweet Field Airport (EUG), Eugene, Oregon. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Park City Aviation, LLC as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules plan had been filed for the cross-country flight that originated from Van Nuys Airport (VNY), Van Nuys, California at 0727.

Preliminary weather report indicated that the airplane was landing in strong wind conditions, moderate to severe turbulence, and low level wind sheer with precipitation and mountain obscuration due to clouds/mist/precipitation. Several witnesses located near the accident area reported they observed the airplane flying at a treetop level.

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.


John Zitting, wife Karen Zitting and son John “Brendan” Zitting of Thousand Oaks. The family, along with pilot Mark Aletky of Acton, died in a small plane crash in Oregon on Friday.




The brother of a man killed in a small plane crash Friday along with his wife and their teenaged son in Oregon recalled the Thousand Oaks family Sunday as fun-loving go-getters with a zest for life and pursuing their dreams.

John A. Zitting, 42, his wife, Karen Blackmore Zitting, 37, and their 17-year-old son, John “Brendan” Zitting, died in the tragic crash just before 11 a.m. Friday in a field near an airport about 2 miles north of Harrisburg, Ore., according to Linn County sheriff’s officials.

“We were definitely not expecting this because (John Zitting) lived life to the fullest, he loved to travel and see new places, loved the ocean,” said brother Mark Zitting, 34, of Heber City, Utah, by phone. “He had a yacht and they spent a lot of time on the ocean when they could. They were all great examples and good people. They were definitely way too young to go.”

Also killed was Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, of Acton, a certified pilot hired by the Zitting family to fly them from Van Nuys to Eugene, Ore., in a single-engine, six-seat 1984 Piper PA-46-310P, sheriff’s officials said. All four occupants were pronounced dead at the scene.

Aletky was an “excellent pilot” who started flying in the 1980s, got his commercial license and flew charter and private jets all over the country for various companies, said long-time friend Jay, who declined to give his last name and works at the Whiteman Airport-based Rotor FX company, where Aletky functioned as a chief pilot for more than a decade.

Jay said he probably received more than 100 calls in the last two days at Rotor FX, which offers flight training with airplanes, helicopters and drones as well as aerial tours, regarding Aletky’s death. The experienced pilot was friendly, well liked and well respected, he said.

He was “probably the best tour pilot in Los Angeles,” Jay said. “He just had that personality. He connected with people, loved flying people around and showing them around the city. He did thousands and thousands of tours over the years.”

Aletky, who is survived by a wife, three children and two grandchildren, had fairly recently passed his medical exam, which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration of commercial pilots every two years, Jay said.

To qualify for insurance, Aletky also had received specialized training in the Bay Area to fly the specific plane he flew the Zittings in, Jay said. Aletky was recently hired to fly the plane for John Zitting’s company, TruNorthe LLC, to shuttle people between offices, Jay said.

On Friday, the tight-knit Zitting family had flown up to Oregon so that Brendan, a senior at Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, could tour the University of Oregon. He was days away from celebrating his 18th birthday, his uncle said.

While Brendan had already been accepted into a university in Arizona, he was still exploring his options, Mark Zitting said.

“Brendan was a great student, top of his class, on the swim team,” he said. “He was a very smart, fun, young man to be around and know.”

Brendan, who was noticeable for his great stature, was skilled with computers and was making his own computer game programs, said Karen Zitting’s brother, Arthur Blackmore, by phone from a suburb of Salt Lake City. Brendan was interested in studying computer science, he said.

John Zitting met his wife Karen through acquaintances while they were both living in northern Utah and they started their life together there. John Zitting owned a construction company in Utah, Diamond Z Construction, with his wife assisting him with the business. The family moved to Southern California and John Zitting started TruNorthe LLC, a Simi Valley-based construction management company, about seven years ago. His wife helped out with this business in addition to working as an esthetician, Mark Zitting said.

“They put everything they had into what they did; whether it was traveling or working, they were nonstop,” Mark Zitting said.

Karen Zitting, one of 12 siblings, was a family-oriented woman who was “very loved” by those who knew her, touching lives with her positive and fun-loving personality, her brother said.

She was “just one of those people you always enjoyed having around,” Blackmore said.

John Zitting was also one of 12 siblings, his brother said. Just two days before the crash, Mark Zitting said he saw his brother in Long Beach for coffee during a spring break trip to Southern California.

“We were just talking about life. ... And how busy it is and Brendan going to college. ... How time flies,” he said. “We definitely didn’t talk about death.”

The Zittings also had a small dog named Leno, who was a part of the family for many years and whom they all adored, Mark Zitting said. He said he believes Leno was being cared for by a friend at the time of the plane crash and will now be taken in by a family member.

Funeral arrangements for the family were still pending as of Sunday morning.

“John was not only my brother but my role model from the day I was born,” Mark Zitting added Sunday via text message. “He will be extremely missed and never forgotten by many. They were as sweet and beautiful as a family can be.”

•  Original article can be found here:   http://www.dailynews.com





Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports the victims of a plane crash that occurred on April 7, 2017, have been identified.Harrisburg Plane Crash

Investigators have learned that a 1984 Piper PA-46-310P, registered to Park City Aviation LLC from Park City, Utah was piloted by Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, from Acton, California. The plane is a single-engine, six-seat plane, and was based out of Van Nuys, California. The plane left Van Nuys yesterday at approximately 7:22 a.m., enroute to Eugene, Oregon.


Aletky was hired by Park City Aviation for the flight and was a certificated pilot.


Investigators learned the plane was flying on instrument and was approaching the Eugene Airport. Witnesses in Harrisburg described seeing the plane flying north at a low altitude when, for unknown reasons, it suddenly turned and crashed into a grass field just west of Peoria Road, which is approximately two miles north of Harrisburg. It is unknown at this time why the plane continued north past the Eugene Airport.


The Linn County Sheriff’s Office 9-1-1 Center received the call at 10:53 a.m.


It was discovered that John A. Zitting, 42, hired Aletky to fly him, his wife and their son, to Eugene. John Zitting was found in the front passenger seat. Seated behind the pilot was Zitting’s spouse, Karen Blackmore Zitting, 37, and their son, John Brendan Zitting, 17, was seated behind his father. The Zitting family is from Thousand Oaks, California.


All occupants of the plane died in the crash.


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrived on scene yesterday at 4:40 p.m. to assist with the investigation. Linn County Sheriff deputies were also assisted by the Harrisburg Fire Department.


The wreckage is scheduled to be removed this weekend.


Autopsies on Aletky and John Zitting are being conducted today and the investigation is on-going as to the cause of the crash.


• Audio: 911 dispatch tape of plane crash discovery:  https://www.linnsheriff.org



Officials in Linn County, Oregon, have identified a family of three from Thousand Oaks and a pilot from Acton who died in a small plane crash on Friday.

John A. Zitting, 42, his wife Karen Blackmore Zitting, 37, and their 17-year-old son, John Brendan Zitting, died in the 10:53 a.m. crash in a field near an airport about two mile north of Harrisburg, Oregon, Linn County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement Saturday.

Also killed was Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, of Acton, a certified pilot hired by the Zitting family to fly them from Van Nuys, California to Eugene, Oregon in a single-engine, six-seat 1984 Piper PA-46-310P, sheriff’s officials said.

“Investigators learned the plane was flying on instrument and was approaching the Eugene Airport,” according the Linn County Sheriff’s Office statement. “Witnesses in Harrisburg described seeing the plane flying north at a low altitude when, for unknown reasons, it suddenly turned and crashed into a grass field just west of Peoria Road.”

The aircraft flew past Eugene Airport prior to the crash, authorities said. It was unclear why.

All four occupants of the airplane were pronounced dead at the scene.

The Oregonian reported that the family was on their way to a college scouting trip for John Brendan Zitting, a high school senior, at the University of Oregon.

In a 911 dispatch tape released by the sheriff’s department, a man who identified himself as Loren Later reports discovering the grisly scene.

“A small aircraft just crashed into a field,” the witness reported as he made his way to the crash scene to try to help with coworkers after seeing the airplane fall from the sky from a nearby office.

“Is anybody in there? Yeah, there’s people in here,” Later is heard saying. “Four people.”

“Nobody is conscious,” he said. “We’re checking to see if there’s a pulse or anything... four people, no pulse.. there’s nobody that appears to be alive.”

“The cockpit is really smashed up. The windshield has got blood splattered on it,” the witness reported.

He added that the weather conditions at the crash scene were “brutal.”

The aircraft was based out of Van Nuys Airport, and the pilot worked for Park City Aviation, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board arrived on scene Friday afternoon to join the investigation into the cause of the crash, sheriff’s officials said. Authorities planned to remove the wreckage sometime over the weekend.

Source:  http://www.dailynews.com

A construction management company executive, his wife and their 17-year-old son along with the 67-year-old pilot died when their small plane crashed on a college scouting trip to the University of Oregon, officials said Saturday. 

The family from Thousand Oaks, California, was headed to Eugene with their son, who is a high school senior, because he was considering attending the university, a family friend told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

The Linn County Sheriff's Office identified them as  John A. Zitting, 42, Karen Blackmore Zitting, 37, and John Brendan Zitting, 17.

Mark Gregory Aletky of Acton, California, was the pilot of the 1984 Piper PA-46-310P that crashed Friday morning in a field near Harrisburg.

The single-engine, six-seat plane known popularly as a Piper Malibu, is based out of Van Nuys, California, and is registered to Park City Aviation LLC in Park City, Utah.

The plane left Van Nuys at 7:22 a.m. Friday, the sheriff's office said.

Investigators learned the plane was flying on instrument and was approaching the Eugene Airport, the sheriff's office said in a news release.

Witnesses in Harrisburg described seeing the plane flying north at a low altitude when, for unknown reasons, it suddenly turned and crashed into a grass field just west of Peoria Road, about two miles north of Harrisburg.

"It is unknown at this time why the plane continued north past the Eugene Airport," the news release says, adding that the Linn County Sheriff's Office 9-1-1 Center received a call about the crash at 10:53 a.m.

The wreckage is scheduled to be removed this weekend.

Autopsies on Aletky and John Zitting are being conducted Saturday. John Zitting was found in the front passenger seat of the plane. Karen Zitting was seated behind the pilot. Their son was seated behind his father.

Zitting is president of TruNorthe LLC, a construction management company.

TruNorthe's director of human resources, Tara Harris, described John Zitting as fun, entertaining and a hands-on leader.

"He was very well liked, well loved," Harris said. "I've had a lot of bosses, and I really didn't care when their birthday was. Everybody cared about his birthday. We had a party."

Zitting had recently been traveling a lot in an effort to grow TruNorthe, Harris said. The company now employs about 30 people. Six or seven were hired in the past couple of weeks, Harris said.

Zitting was excited to have bought a plane and hired a pilot, said Harris, who met Mark Aletky when he dropped off paperwork at the office. Aletky was a full-time employee of TruNorthe, Harris said.

"They were great people," said Sean Sullivan, marketing director for TruNorthe.

"His son was going off to college and that's why they were going to Oregon," Sullivan said, adding that the younger Zitting, a senior at West Lake (California) High School was also considering the University of Arizona and other schools. The son was the couple's only child.

Zitting started TruNorthe in 2010, Sullivan said. While it is based in Park City, Utah, Zitting primarily worked out of the company's Burbank, California, office.

"John by trade was a builder. He built homes, hotels, chalets," in Utah and Wyoming, Sullivan said.

Aletky was a professional drummer in California before deciding at age 45 that he wanted to be a pilot, embarking on a second career in which he rose in qualifications to the point where he flew Lear jets, said his son Joseph Aletky.

Joseph Aletky said his father had attended a training course in northern California specific to the Piper PA-46-310P. He also said his father had experience in flying aircraft in a wide variety of situations and, in a profession that measures experience in time in the aircraft, "had thousands and thousands of hours."

Aletky, 30, said his father, who also has worked as a flight instructor, started teaching him how to fly when he was a boy. He said he knew he was biased in his opinion of his father's flying abilities.

But, "Out of all the pilots I've met, he was extraordinary in his ability. I know if any situation would arise, he would be the guy to meet that."

Aletky, one of the pilot's three children, said he was perplexed by what he has read thus far about the crash.

"I can't understand it. We've had things happen in the air. We've dealt with it. He's not the type to panic. He takes things by the reins and makes sure what needs to get done gets done."
A National Transportation Safety Board investigator, meanwhile, plans to interview three witnesses Saturday who saw an airplane plummet to the ground.

The investigator also will work to continue gathering data on the plane, pilot and circumstances surrounding the crash, said NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson.

Three witnesses interviewed by The Oregonian/OregonLive on Friday gave a similar version of events preceding the crash: A low-flying plane suddenly flipped on its side then traveled traveled straight down until it was out of sight. Strong winds buffeted the area at the time.

The investigator for the NTSB, which is the agency that will determine the cause of the crash, expects to be in the Harrisburg area until Sunday, Knudson said. More than one tablet computer was recovered from the site, he said, and they will be shipped to the NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C., for inspection because one of them likely was used for navigation.

In addition to looking at weather conditions at the time of the crash, the investigator will want to know what weather information was available to the pilot prior to departure and how current the information was. In general, the investigator will want to know the pilot's pre-flight planning, he said.

"We'll try to understand what happened to pilot three days prior," he said, a routine part of a crash investigation, searching for "anything that could have affected the pilot's ability to safely operate that aircraft (such as) sleep, rest cycle."

Also, the pilot's license will be considered, along with hours of experience, recent flying experience, medical certification and medical records.

The aircraft will be examined along with its maintenance records, Knudson said. "Was there sufficient fuel?" he said, posing another area the NTSB would consider. The fact there was no post-crash fire was "helpful," he said, as no instrumentation was destroyed.


Original article can be found here:   http://www.oregonlive.com



Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, of Acton, California, was identified Saturday as the pilot of a 1984 Piper PA-46-310P that crashed Friday near Harrisburg, killing Aletky and three passengers, the Linn County Sheriff's Office announced Saturday.

The sheriff's office said John A. Zitting, 42, hired Aletky to fly him; his wife and their son, to Eugene. John Zitting was found in the front passenger seat. Seated behind the pilot was Zitting's spouse, Karen Blackmore Zitting, 37, and their son, John Brendan Zitting, 17, was seated behind his father. The Zitting family is from Thousand Oaks, California.

The single-engine, six-seat plane is based out of Van Nuys and is registered to Park City Aviation LLC in Park City, Utah. Aletky was hired by Park City Aviation for the flight and was a certificated pilot.

The plane left Van Nuys at 7:22 a.m. Friday en route to Eugene, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office said in a news release that investigators learned the plane was flying on instrument and was approaching the Eugene Airport.

Witnesses in Harrisburg described seeing the plane flying north at a low altitude when, for unknown reasons, it suddenly turned and crashed into a grass field just west of Peoria Road, which is approximately two miles north of Harrisburg.

"It is unknown at this time why the plane continued north past the Eugene Airport," the news release says, adding that the Linn County Sheriff's Office 9-1-1 Center received a call about the crash at 10:53 a.m.

The wreckage is scheduled to be removed this weekend.

Autopsies on Aletky and John Zitting are being conducted today and the investigation is on-going as to the cause of the crash.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigator, meanwhile, plans to interview three witnesses Saturday who saw an airplane plummet to the ground.

The investigator also will work to continue gathering data on the plane, pilot and circumstances surrounding the crash that was reported to 911 shortly before 11 a.m. Friday, said NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson.

Three witnesses interviewed by The Oregonian/OregonLive on Friday gave a similar version of events preceding the crash: A low-flying plane suddenly flipped on its side then traveled traveled straight down until it was out of sight. Strong winds buffeted the area at the time.

The investigator for the NTSB, which is the agency that will determine the cause of the crash, expects to be in the Harrisburg area until Sunday, Knudson said. He said more than one tablet computer was recovered from the site and those will be shipped to the NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C., for inspection because one of them likely was used for navigation.

In addition to looking at weather conditions at the time of the crash, the investigator will want to know what weather information was available to the pilot prior to departure and how current the information was. In general, the investigator will want to know the pilot's pre-flight planning, he said.

"We'll try to understand what happened to pilot three days prior," he said, a routine part of a crash investigation, searching for "anything that could have affected the pilot's ability to safely operate that aircraft (such as) sleep, rest cycle."

Also, the pilot's license will be considered, along with hours of experience, recent flying experience, medical certification and medical records.

The aircraft will be examined along with its maintenance records, Knudson said. "Was there sufficient fuel?" he said, posing another area the NTSB would consider. The fact there was no post-crash fire was "helpful," he said, as no instrumentation was destroyed.


Original article can be found here:  http://www.oregonlive.com


Investigators are still searching for the cause of a plane crash that killed four people Friday morning in a farmer's field off of Peoria Road about one mile outside of Harrisburg.

The field, owned by Leon Kropf, is located about 10 miles north of the Eugene Airport and sits directly under the final approach for pilots landing at the airport.

The Piper PA-46-310P Malibu crashed at 11:02 a.m. A 911 call to the Linn County Sheriff's Office alerted deputies, as well as the Harrisburg Fire Department. Both agencies responded.

According to Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley, employees at Knife River Corp., about two miles away, called 911 after the noise of the engine drew their eyes skyward, where they noticed the plane flying north at about 600 feet. One employee said he watched the plane go down.

"It just kind of twisted a little bit and then it went in," Riley said.

Riley also said the witnesses did not observe the plane struggling to fly. But the crash happened on a day when southerly winds in the valley near the airport were gusting to 21 and 30 mph.  

"It hit the ground hard about 30 yards from where it came to rest," he said.

According to the aviation tracking service FlightAware, the plane, bearing the tail number N123SB, had taken off from Van Nuys airport in California at 7:22 a.m., bound for Eugene. The log last shows the aircraft traveling at 58 knots at about 1,800 feet at 10:50 a.m. 

Riley said investigators with the National Transportation Safety Bureau and the Federal Aviation Administration began their investigation Friday evening, when they removed the bodies and searched for next of kin. The names and residences of the victims were not released on Friday.


Story, video and photo gallery:   http://democratherald.com





HARRISBURG — Four people were killed on Friday in a plane crash north of Harrisburg, Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley said.

Harrisburg firefighters and Linn County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the crash that occurred in a field near Cartney County Park, about a mile north of Harrisburg, around 11 a.m. Friday.

The plane crashed about 10 miles north of the Eugene Airport during a time when gusty winds were prevalent in the area.

At 10:54 a.m. Friday, wind speeds near the Eugene Airport had reached about 21 miles per hour with 30 mph gusts, according to the National Weather Service.

The Eugene Airport control tower first reported that a small plane approaching the airport had crashed north of the airport at about 10:50 a.m.

Eugene Airport spokesman Casey Boatman said the plane was initially reported as a Piper Malibu. A Piper Malibu is a single-engine plane that can carry up to six people.

Linn County sheriff’s deputies are on the scene investigating the crash and are being assisted by the Harrisburg Fire Department, Riley said. Motorists in the area have been asked to find alternate routes.

Riley said 911 received a call from someone who reported either seeing the plane heading to the ground or having already crashed.

He estimated the plane struck the ground about 30 yards from where it came to rest.

Riley said he did not know where the plane came from or where it was headed.

Authorities are investigating if the cause of the crash was weather-related or mechanical, he said.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were on the way to the scene.

Story, video and photo gallery:   http://registerguard.com





HARRISBURG, Ore. - Four people died in a small plane crash in a field off Peoria Road north of Harrisburg on Friday, the Linn County Sheriff's Office said.

The crash happened around 11:02 a.m., the sheriff's office said.

"We have discovered a small single engine plane that has crashed," Sheriff Bruce Riley said at the scene. "We can confirm that there are 4 deceased in the wreckage. We have secured the scene, we've notified FAA and NTSB, and they are en route to conduct their investigation."

There is no word yet on where the plane was coming from nor where the plane was headed. 

Investigators will use the plane's registration number to determine who owned the plane, as well as its flight plan, crew and passengers.

"At this point, we do not know what the cause of the crash is, whether it is weather related or mechanical difficulties," Sheriff Riley. "It's too early to tell that at this point." 

The plane crashed in a field off Peoria Road about a mile north of Harrisburg, the sheriff said.

Sheriff's deputies and firefighters are on scene. Motorists are asked to avoid the area.

Story, video and photo gallery:  http://kval.com











Four people died after a plane crashed in a field off of Peoria Road about one mile outside the city of Harrisburg on Friday morning, according to a Linn County Sheriff’s Office news release.

The crash happened at about 11:02 a.m., and deputies and the Harrisburg Fire Department responded to the scene.

Sheriff Bruce Riley asked motorists to find an alternate route to travel around the area.

Wind gusts of up to 60 mph were reported throughout the Willamette Valley floor on Friday morning, and Marys Peak had a gust of 91 mph at about 9:10 a.m. 

Story, video and photo gallery: http://www.gazettetimes.com

5 comments:

gretnabear said...

ear said...

190 degree winds at destination (KEUG) were 15 gusting to 35. Appears the PIC overflew destination from the south on his downwind leg to a point where he started his base to long final. A discussion of this change in direction and possible outcomes at https://www.boldmethod.com/blog/learn-to-fly/maneuvers/strong-tailwinds-causes-base-to-final-crash/

Anonymous said...

Looks like he stalled the aircraft, hitting nose first.

Unknown said...

Great job in solving the case from behind your computer. Have some respect, your assumptions on what happened won't make you or anyone else safer pilot.

Anonymous said...

Single pilot IFR in IMC in a somewhat familiar aircraft - safe?

Anonymous said...

Another incompetent ass, should never have been there, these guys just keep killing people left and right