Friday, May 26, 2017

Aerotek Pitts S-2A, N67PN: Fatal accident May 26, 2017 near Sheboygan County Memorial Airport (KSBM), Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Aviat Aircraft, Inc.; Afton, Wyoming
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA197
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 26, 2017 in Sheboygan Falls, WI
Aircraft: AEROTEK PITTS S 2A, registration: N67PN
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 May 26, 2017, about 1230 central daylight time, a Aerotek Pitts S 2A biplane, N67PN, impacted terrain during a descent near Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. The pilot and pilot rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the impact. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area about the time of the accident, and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Sheboygan County Memorial Airport (SBM), near Sheboygan, Wisconsin, about 1210.

According to initial information from a flight instructor at SBM, about 1210 he and some students were listening to the common traffic advisory frequency and they heard the pilot of a Bonanza report that the Bonanza was on a straight in final for runway 13. The flight instructor, in part, stated:

As the [B]onanza passed on the low approach we watched a red colored biplane depart [runway] 13.

We noticed that he rotated before [runway] 04/22 and made a sharp left turn to the north about abeam the [Falls very high frequency omni-directional range navigation aid]. 

The turnout was low to the ground and approximately 45 degrees or [greater] clearing the trees to by 50 to 100 feet. 

The biplane departed the area to the west/southwest at a lower than normal altitude.

According to a friend of the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to perform a fly-by over Road America near Plymouth, Wisconsin, which was located about 6 nautical miles and 285° from SBM.

A witness who worked nearby reported that about 1230 she noticed the familiar sound of a biplane as she sat down on a patio. 

The witness, in part, further stated:

A second later, the plane sound abruptly ceased - this sudden silence caught my attention and I rose to see what was happening. 

The plane was traveling eastbound, was parallel to the horizon, but yet no sound was emitted from the engine. 

That is, no engine buzzing, sputtering, catching, whirring - no sound. 

The plane remained traveling forward while parallel and without losing altitude for between one and five seconds - before the plane stopped making any forward progress. 

This is when the nose of the plane dipped down so the plane was completely vertical and began spiraling clockwise until it made contact with the ground. 

When the plane hit the ground, a light grey/brown cloud of dust and/or smoke arose. 

There was no dark colored or continuous smoke to suggest a fire.

The witness subsequently called 9-1-1.

The rear seated 66-year-old pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land rating. He also held commercial pilot privileges in single-engine land and single-engine sea airplanes. He held type ratings on McDonnell Douglas DC-9 airplanes and Boeing 757, 767, and 777 airplanes. The pilot held an FAA first-class medical certificate issued on April 20, 2017, with a limitation to wear corrective lenses. The pilot reported on the application for that medical certificate that he had accumulated 16,300 hours of total flight time and 150 hours of flight time in six months before the application.

The flight instructor that sold the accident airplane to the pilot reported that the pilot's Pitts S 2A check out training consisted of ground and in-flight instruction. The instruction, in part, included Lycoming engine operation with Bendix fuel injection, fuel system operation, management of fuel from the top tank, range and endurance planning, start-up procedures both cold and hot method, leaning procedures, weight and balance, normal and aerobatic loading, proper trimming of the airplane, P factor, torque and gyroscopic forces, slow flight, angle of attack control, stall recognition, stall prevention, stall recovery power on and off, how to recognize the incipient spin, recovery from normal upright, inverted, accelerated, crossover, and flat spins by the normal recovery method, the power on method, and the emergency maneuver recovery method, upset recovery, engine out approach and landing, in-flight power loss recovery, and emergency landing field determination.

The front seated pilot-rated passenger, age 19, held an FAA private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument airplane ratings. He was issued an FAA third-class medical certificate on June 15, 2015, with no limitations.

N67PN was a 1981 model Aerotek Pitts S 2A factory-built, tandem two-seat, single-engine, fixed gear tailwheel biplane. It was equipped with a 200-horsepower aerobatic Lycoming AEIO-360-A1E engine, with serial no. L-20565-51A. A three-bladed MT propeller, model MTV-9-B-C/ C188-18b, serial no. 140237, was installed in accordance with supplemental type certificate no. SA00457DE. The airplane had a 24-gallon fuselage fuel tank with a usable fuel capacity of 23 gallons.

The airplane was based at the Burlington Municipal Airport (BUU), near Burlington, Wisconsin. A fuel receipt showed that the owner purchased 11 gallons of 100 low lead aviation gasoline (avgas) at BUU on May 25, 2017, at 1535. The distance from BUU to SBM was about 68 nautical miles.

At 1153, the recorded weather at SBM was, wind 160° at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky condition clear, temperature 16° C, dew point 13° C, altimeter 29.86 inches of mercury.

The airplane came to rest inverted on plowed terrain. The airplane's heading was about 300° magnetic and it was about three nautical miles and 266° from SBM. There was no post impact ground fire. There were depression witness marks under the nose, upper wing, and rudder. The airplane remained intact. The engine compartment, fuselage, upper wings, and empennage exhibited crushing and buckling consistent with the ground impact. The engine compartment exhibited rearward crushing. The outboard sections of two propeller blades were visible outside of the lower engine cowling and one propeller blade was covered by the cowling. The leading edges of the upper wings exhibited rearward crushing. The right lower wing exhibited minor damage. However, about 3/4 of the outboard section of the left lower wing trailing edge was buckled in the direction towards its landing gear. The canopy frame was found under the inverted fuselage and the canopy was found fragmented on the ground. No baggage or ballast was found in the aft baggage area.

A postaccident examination of the wreckage was conducted. The fuselage fuel tank exhibited impact damage. Separations in flight control tubes were consistent with first responder actions and with overload. Flight control continuity was established from all flight control surfaces to their respective cockpit controls. A fitting on the electric fuel pump was removed, power was applied to the pump, and the pump emitted a blue liquid consistent with the smell of avgas. The other fitting on the electric fuel pump was removed, air pressure was applied to the fitting, and air was heard escaping from a broken valve fitting on the gascolator. The gascolator fitting was sealed with thumb pressure, air pressure reapplied to the electric fuel pump fitting, and air was heard escaping from the inside of the fuselage fuel tank.

The airplane was lifted during its recovery and the propeller blades were found separated from their hub. The curved back of each propeller did not exhibit any chordwise abrasion. Sections of wooden ribs were found embedded in the ground scar under the upper wing leading edges. Examination of the engine revealed that a thumb compression was observed at all cylinders when the engine was rotated by hand. The propeller governor was separated from the engine case and its control cable remained attached. The engine control cables were traced from the cockpit to the engine. Three of the top sparkplugs were removed. The top no. 1 sparkplug was separated from its threaded base, its electrode was bent, and the electrode exhibited a normal appearance in reference to a Champion Check-A-Plug chart. Using the same chart, the top no. 2 sparkplug exhibited a normal appearance and the top no. 3 and no. 4 sparkplugs exhibited a worn out-normal appearance. Sparkplug wires were cut to remove the magnetos for testing. Both magnetos produced a spark at the end of all leads when the magnetos were rotated. The fuel screen within the fuel servo was inspected and it did not exhibit any debris. A blue colored liquid consistent with the smell of avgas exited the servo when the screen was accessed. The fuel distribution valve was disassembled and a liquid sheen consistent with the smell of avgas was observed within the valve. A liquid consistent with the smell of avgas exited a port on the engine driven fuel pump when its lever arm was manipulated by hand.

The Sheboygan County Coroner was asked to arrange for autopsies to be performed on the pilot and pilot-rated passenger and to take toxicological samples.

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

Phil Smecko

October 24, 1997 - May 26, 2017

Filip J. “Philip” Smecko, 19, of Janesville passed away unexpectedly on Friday May 26, 2017, in a single engine plane crash near Sheboygan, WI. He was born in Chrzanow, Poland on Oct. 24, 1997, the son of Marta Smecko. Philip graduated from Milton High School in 2016. He was previously employed at Famous Footwear in Janesville. His passion in life was flying. His dream was to become a commercial pilot and fly the Airbus for the airlines one day to Poland where he was born and around the world. At his young age of 19, he had already received his instrument rating and was halfway through obtaining his Commercial rating when this incident happened. His passion for flying was so strong he turned down a football scholarship to a Division 2 university. Philip also enjoyed track and field and playing football for Milton High School where his football team was Badger Conference champions two years in a row, 2014 and 2015. Philip had the honor of starting both years as defensive end and made some game changing plays. His favorite event in track and field was 110 yard high hurdles. Those who saw him run always commented how he ran with such ease and stepped over the hurdles like a deer. He qualified at the WIAA sectional track meet for 2015. He was an outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing. Spending time with family and friends was important to him, as well as being a wonderful role model to his younger siblings, Joey and Olivia. Philip will be remembered for always having a smile on his face, and flexing his muscles for all to see.

Philip is survived by his mother, Marta Smecko; father, John Smecko; brother, Joey; sister, Olivia; step brother, Johnny; grandparents, Joseph and Czeslawa Antoszuk; and several aunts; uncles; cousins; other family members, and friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Margaret and Joseph Smecko.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m.. on Saturday, June 3, 2017 ,at NEW LIFE ASSEMBLY OF GOD, 2416 N. Wright Rd., with Rev. Aaron White officiating. Visitation will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at NEW LIFE ASSEMBLY OF GOD. You will be terribly missed by everyone who had the pleasure to have you in their lives. You were, and will forever be loved. Fly high, my sweet Philip.

Whitcomb-Lynch Funeral Home & Cremation Services
21 S. Austin Rd.

Phil Smecko, a 2016 Milton High School graduate, competed on the Red Hawk football and track and field teams.

Phil Smecko 

A 2016 Milton High School graduate was killed in a plane crash Friday near Sheboygan.

According to a news release from the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office, authorities received a call at 12:33 p.m. from a witness indicating a plane had crashed in a farm field in the area of County Highway O and Willow Road.

The plane was an Aerotek Pitts S-2A, the release said. Passenger Philip Smecko, 19, of Janesville, and pilot Dennis D. Hall, 67, of McHenry, Ill., died in the crash.

Deputies, along with emergency personnel from the Town of Sheboygan Falls Fire Department, Town of Sheboygan Falls First Responders and Orange Cross Ambulance, responded, the release said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the sheriff's office, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board and no details are available at this time.

Original article can be found here:

TOWN OF SHEBOYGAN FALLS, Wis. (WBAY) - The Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office has released the names of two people killed in a small plane crash Friday.

The victims are identified as:

Pilot: Dennis D. Hall, 67, McHenry, Ill.
Passenger: Filip J. Smecko, 19, Janesville, Wis.

The sheriff's office says the biplane crashed in a farm field along Willow Road off County Highway O around 12:30 p.m.

A witness reported it to 911.

The sheriff's office says the plane was an Aerotek Pitts S-2A, which is a two-seat, single-engine biplane designed for aerobatics. The sheriff's office does not believe it was from Sheboygan County.

The FAA tells Action 2 News it was notified by local authorities and will be sending a team to investigate.

The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation, which is routine for all plane crashes.

Story and video:

UPDATE: Authorities said pilot and a passenger were killed. The plane is registered to a man in Burlington, Wis. 

Deputies are investigating a deadly crash in Sheboygan Falls Friday.

At 12:33 p.m., the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office received a call from someone saying they saw a plane crash near CTH O and Willow Road.

They responded and found that a plane had crashed in a field at N6217 Willow Road. 

"There were no surviving individuals," Sergeant Matthew Spence with the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office said. 

Deputies are unsure how many people were aboard the plane, but do not believe it was from Sheboygan County. 

The plane was an Aerotek Pitts S-2A Fixed Wing Single-Engine aircraft. 

The crash remains under investigation.

Story and video:

Law enforcement is investigating a fatal plane crash in Sheboygan County, which reportedly happened around noon Friday.

The Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release that there “were no surviving individuals” on the plane, but did not specify how many people were on the plane.

The sheriff's department received a 911 call from a witness who saw the plane crash near Sheboygan Falls near County Highway O and Willow Road.

Deputies believe the plane is not from Sheboygan County, and the sheriff's department is investigating along with the FAA.

Story and video:

No comments: