Friday, May 19, 2017

Socata TB-20 Trinidad, N28070: Fatal accident occurred April 17, 2017 in Sierraville, Sierra County, California

Husband and wife, Mark Stephan Richard and Brenda Jane (Fauss) Richard of Santa Rosa, California, passed away on April 17th, 2017 when their Socata TB-20 Trinidad went down in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Truckee, California.


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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada
Daher; Pompano, Florida
Lycoming Engines; Milliken, Colorado

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms 
 
http://registry.faa.gov/N28070




Location: Sierraville, CA
Accident Number: WPR17FA105
Date & Time: 04/17/2017, 1610 PDT
Registration: N28070
Aircraft: SOCATA TB 20 TRINIDAD
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: VFR encounter with IMC
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On April 17, 2017, about 1610 Pacific daylight time, a Socata TB-20 Trinidad airplane, N28070, was destroyed during impact with remote mountainous tree-covered terrain while maneuvering about 5.5 nautical miles (nm) southwest of Sierraville, California. The noninstrument-rated private pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to the pilot and another individual and was being operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed in the area at the time of the accident, and a flight plan was not filed for the personal cross-country flight. The flight originated from Truckee-Tahoe Airport (TRK), Truckee, California, about 1550, and was destined for Petaluma Airport (O69), Petaluma, California.

In a written statement provided to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the co-owner of the airplane reported that he had flown with the pilot from TRK to O69 on three occasions. On departure, they had climbed to the north toward Sierraville, then turned left (west) on a direct track toward O69, a route that took them over a valley and between mountain peaks. The co-owner further reported that on the day before the accident, he received a text message from the pilot that read, "…tomorrow is looking iffy on getting out," followed by, "…I think I'll have a window or two to get out." On the day of the accident during the morning, the pilot called the co-owner during which the pilot asked his opinion as to whether she could climb through the overcast and fly home under visual flight rules (VFR) on top; the co-owner told the pilot not to try it. Additionally, the co-owner suggested staying overnight; however, the pilot did not want to do that. The pilot then asked him if he thought the weather was likely to improve, and he advised her to call the aviation weather briefing service.

In a telephone interview with the IIC, the TRK airport operations manager stated that, as the pilot was taxiing out for takeoff, he heard her make normal before-takeoff radio transmissions. The manager also mentioned that about the time the airplane departed, there were significant cloud buildups to the west of the airport, which would have been directly in line with the pilot's route to O69. The pilot subsequently departed to the north where higher cloud bases existed.

The airplane departed TRK about 1549. Radar track data revealed that at 1556:25, about 7 minutes after departing TRK, the airplane was about 13 nm north of TRK, with a groundspeed of 142 knots (kts). At an unknown time, the airplane began to track west. Radar contact was lost for about 9 minutes, and when it was regained, at 1605:25, the airplane was observed about 13 nm west of the last radar return. At 1605:37, the airplane made a left turn to a southwest heading of 227°, at a groundspeed of 80 kts. About 36 seconds later the flight was proceeding southwest at a groundspeed of 98 kts. The airplane was then observed to turn right about 11°, and about 36 seconds later, at 1506:49, it was on a heading of 232°, and at a groundspeed of 97 kts. About 24 seconds later, at 1507:13, the flight had turned right to a heading of 236° and was at a groundspeed of 82 kts. It continued this heading for about 1 nm. About 48 seconds later, at 1608:01, the airplane was observed on a heading of 226° and at a groundspeed of 74 kts. The last radar return, which was at 1608:13, revealed that the airplane had turned left to a heading of 209°, and was at a groundspeed of 65 kts. At this time, the airplane was located about .47 nm southeast of the accident site.

The airplane did not arrive at O69, and, at 2037, the co-owner of the airplane became concerned and notified the FAA. The Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center then issued an alert notice (ALNOT), and search and rescue (SAR) operations commenced the following morning. However, due to inclement weather, which included heavy snowfall throughout the search area, SAR operations were suspended on April 23. The airplane was subsequently located on May 17 in remote mountainous terrain.


Mark and Brenda Richard

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 53, Female
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/01/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/18/2015
Flight Time:  191.8 hours (Total, all aircraft), 37.3 hours (Total, this make and model), 99.8 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 33.2 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4.6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land airplane rating. The pilot did not hold an instrument rating. She was issued a third-class FAA medical certificate on March 27, 2017, with the limitation "must have available glasses for near vision."

A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that she had accumulated a total of 191.8 hours of flight experience as of April 5, 2017, which was the date of the last logbook entry. Additionally, the pilot had logged 99.8 hours as pilot-in-command, 7 hours of cross-country flight time, 4.6 hours of night flight time, and 37.3 hours of flight time in the same make and model as the accident airplane. Further, the pilot's logbook revealed that she had flown 33.2 hours, 23.8 hours, and 4.6 hours within the preceding 90 days, 60 days, and 30 days preceding the date of the accident. The pilot satisfactorily completed her most recent flight review on November 18, 2015. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SOCATA
Registration: N28070
Model/Series: TB 20 TRINIDAD NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1990
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1082
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/01/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3086 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 28 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3131.6 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-540 SER
Registered Owner: SHERLOCK WILLIAM H TRUSTEE
Rated Power: 250 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The four-seat, low-wing, tricycle, retractable-landing-gear airplane, serial number 1082, was manufactured in 1990. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-540 series, 250-horsepower engine, and equipped with a Hartzell HC-C3YR-1RF/7693FB, 3-blade, constant-speed propeller. A review of airplane maintenance records revealed that the most recent annual inspection was completed on January 1, 2017, at a tachometer time of 3,103.2 hours and a time since engine major overhaul of 1,390.5 hours. The tachometer reading at the time of the accident was 3,131.6 hours. The airplane had accumulated a total of 28.4 hours since its most recent annual inspection.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Unknown
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: TRK, 5901 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1450 PDT
Direction from Accident Site: 180°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 3400 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 14 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / Unknown
Wind Direction: 190°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / Unknown
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Truckee, CA (TRK)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Petaluma, CA (O69)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time: 1530 PDT
Type of Airspace: Unknown 

The National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart for 1700 showed the majority of station models in northern California and northwestern Nevada reporting overcast skies, with one station model near the accident site reporting light rain.

WSR-88D2 Level-II weather radar imagery from Reno, Nevada, located about 48 miles east-northeast of the accident site, identified light reflectivity values in the area of the accident site between about 9,600 ft msl and 14,400 ft msl.

A vertical cross section of the KGRX radar imagery for the immediate area of the accident location depicted very light values of reflectivity up to about 22,000 ft msl to 23,000 ft msl above the accident location.

Advanced Very-High-Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and infrared data depicted cloudy skies over the area of the accident site.

At 1450, the automated weather observing station at TRK, located about 20 miles southeast of the accident site at an elevation of 5,901 ft msl, reported wind from 190° at 10 knots with gusts to 14 knots, prevailing visibility 6 to 10 statute miles or greater, ceiling broken at 3,400 ft agl, overcast cloud base at 4,200 ft agl, temperature of 8°C, dew point temperature of 4°C, and altimeter setting of 30.06 inches of mercury.

At 1645, TRK reported wind from 190° at 5 knots, prevailing visibility of 10 statute miles or greater, ceiling broken at 2,600 ft agl, overcast cloud base at 3,900 ft agl, temperature of 7°C, dew point temperature of 4°C, and altimeter setting of 30.07 inches of mercury.

A terminal aerodrome forecasts issued at 1040 for TRK forecasted for the accident time: wind from 220° at 13 knots with gusts to 24 knots, prevailing visibility greater than 6 statute miles, light rain showers, few clouds at 2,500 ft agl, and ceiling broken at 4,000 ft agl.

An area forecast that included the region of northern California (north of a Santa Rosa-Sacramento-South Lake Tahoe line) was issued at 1245 by the Aviation Weather Center (AWC) in Kansas City, Missouri. The portion of the area forecast directed toward the northern Sierra Nevada range and valid for the accident time indicated broken clouds at 9,000 ft msl with clouds layered to flight level (FL)250 and scattered light rain showers.

The following Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) advisories were valid over the airplane's route of flight at the time of the accident:

At 1345, an AIRMET SIERRA was issued for mountain obscuration.

At 1345, an AIRMET ZULU was issued for moderate icing between the freezing level and FL220.

At 1345, two AIRMET TANGOs were issued for moderate turbulence between FL220 and FL390 and moderate turbulence below FL180.

For further information, see the weather study in the public docket for this report.

The co-owner of the accident airplane stated that when he called the FAA's Oakland Operations Watch Desk at 2037, he was informed that the pilot had called in for a weather briefing at 1400. However, during the investigation, attempts to retrieve a transcription of the briefing that the weather briefer provided the pilot were unsuccessful. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  39.541111, -120.470556 

An onsite examination revealed that the airplane came to rest on the rising face of a mountain about 20 nm northwest of TRK at an elevation of 7,697 ft msl. The initial impact point (IIP) was identified by a broken tree branch, right wing fragments, and a green position light. Several broken tree branches were located about 15 ft beyond the IIP around the base of an approximate 70-ft-tall tree; the tree displayed a large impact scar. About 5-inch-long striations were observed along the left side of an impact scar, oriented in a 45° downward angle. Additionally, fragments of airframe skin were embedded in a second tree, about 42-ft tall, which comprised the beginning of the main wreckage site.

The wreckage debris path, which was estimated to be about 20 ft in length, was oriented on a northerly heading. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. The right wing spar and portions of the right wing skins were found at the base of the scarred tree. The spar was broken outboard beyond the fuel tank sight gage, and the wing flap was separated about midspan. The right aileron, which had separated from the wing, was co-located with the empennage.

The left wing was intact with the exception of its wingtip, which had separated. The left wing leading edge displayed aft crushing. The left wing flap was intact and remained attached to the left wing. The wing spar was broken inboard, and the left main landing gear was in the retracted position. The aileron was co-located with the left wing.

The vertical stabilizer and rudder were found at the base of the scarred tree, the only tree that was scarred during the impact sequence. The upper vertical stabilizer had separated from the spar but was co-located with the rest of the airfoil at the base of the scarred tree. A large concave depression was found in both the rudder and lower vertical stabilizer that matched the large impact scar on the tree.

The horizontal stabilizer was intact and attached to the tailcone and part of the aft fuselage. A small concave depression was found about midspan on the leading edge of the right horizontal stabilizer.

The cabin, forward fuselage, and engine compartment were located beneath several feet of snow.

The engine instrument panel was located. However, individual instrument readings could not be determined due to postimpact damage.

The engine was buried in deep snow at the base of the impacted tree. The propeller remained attached to the engine. All 3 propeller blades were impact damaged and remained attached to their respective hubs. Two of the blades remained relatively straight, and one blade was bent aft almost 90°.

The postaccident examination of the airplane and engine did not reveal any evidence of preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

Medical And Pathological Information

The Office of the Sheriff-Coroner, Sierra County, Downieville, California, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The examination revealed that the cause of death was massive blunt force trauma.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to the toxicology report, 11 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ethanol was detected in muscle, no ethanol was detected in brain, and ibuprofen detected in liver. Carbon monoxide and cyanide tests were not performed. The detection of alcohol in muscle but not in brain was consistent with postmortem production. Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter medication used for treating pain, fever, and inflammation; it is not generally considered to be impairing.

TEST AND RESEARCH

Five electronic devices were sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder lab, but no data were able to be recovered due to damage or lack of a passcode.








NTSB Identification: WPR17FAMS3 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 17, 2017 in Loyalton, CA
Aircraft: SOCATA TB 20 TRINIDAD, registration: N28070
Injuries: Unavailable

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 17, 2017, about 1600 Pacific daylight time, a Socata TB-20 Trinidad, N28070, departed Truckee-Tahoe Airport (TRK), Truckee, California. Since that time, the private pilot and one passenger have not been located, and the airplane is missing. Radar track data was lost when the airplane was about 16 nautical miles north of TRK, and is presumed to have crashed in remote mountainous terrain. The personal cross-country flight was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulator Part 91. There was no record that the pilot had filed a flight plan.

TRK airport operations personnel reported that about the time the airplane departed, lowering cloud bases were observed west of the airport, which would have been the direction of flight en route to O69. However, the pilot elected to depart to the north in an area where higher cloud bases existed.

Search and rescue efforts commenced the morning following the disappearance of the airplane, April 18th, and were subsequently suspended during the evening of April 23rd. To date the airplane has not been located, and an emergency locator signal has not been reported.
Mark and Brenda Richard
~


The bodies of Brenda and Mark Richard, the Santa Rosa couple whose single-engine airplane went missing last month in the Sierra Nevada mountains, have been found, Sierra County Sheriff’s officials said Friday.

Sheriff Tim Standley said a recreational snowmobiler found a piece of the plane’s tail in the snow on Tuesday. Authorities confirmed the discovery early Wednesday and on Thursday found the bodies, in the separated cockpit buried in six to seven feet of snow.

Officials said the couple’s family have been notified of the discovery, in a remote area southeast of Yuba Pass in Sierra County.

“Our hearts go out to the Richards, to their friends who have called for information, to the family that have called in,” Standley said. “It’s a great tragedy.”

Undersheriff Robert Yegge said an autopsy to determine cause of death is underway.

The couple flew out of Truckee Tahoe Airport April 17 headed for Petaluma. At the time of their takeoff around 4 p.m., the temperature was 41 degrees with overcast skies and wind gusts exceeding 20 mph. A friend of the couple last month described Brenda Richard, 53, as a good pilot familiar with flying in the mountains.

The couple were in their white-and-blue single-engine Socata TB-20 Trinidad and were thought to have crashed in a 400-square-mile stretch of rugged backcountry in Sierra County, 18 miles northwest of Truckee. The general location of the plane was determined by radar and cellphone data. On April 23, after six days of unsuccessfully scouring the rough terrain, a search effort was called off.

Standley said it appears the plane struck a tree and split apart. He said he believes centrifugal force caused by the impact flung the cockpit and engine deep into powdery snow. Subsequent snowstorms encased the cockpit in icy, hard-packed snow, he said.

The tail portion of the plane that was found by the snowmobiler was located under a thick tree canopy, he said.

The area had been previously surveyed by rescue aircraft, but the wreckage would not have been visible due to the tree canopy, Standley said.

After the Sheriff’s Office received the report of the wreckage, Standley organized a party to search for the Richards. Standley said the team included those who had previously spent days last month searching for the plane.

The team, which included snowmobiles and specially equipped all-terrain vehicles, went out in snowy weather on Wednesday night. They found the plane by 2:30 a.m. but could not immediately find the cockpit, officials said.

On Thursday morning, a team went out with shovels to dig in the snow. The team found the cockpit and the couple, deceased, inside. Local investigators and federal agencies confirmed the bodies were that of Brenda, 53, and Mark, 54.

The Richards have four adult daughters, Lauren, Madeline, Ashley and Danielle, and a young grandchild, according to neighbors in Santa Rosa.

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




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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N28070

NTSB Identification: WPR17FAMS3 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 17, 2017 in Loyalton, CA
Aircraft: SOCATA TB 20 TRINIDAD, registration: N28070
Injuries: Unavailable

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 17, 2017, about 1600 Pacific daylight time, a Socata TB-20 Trinidad, N28070, departed Truckee-Tahoe Airport (TRK), Truckee, California. Since that time, the private pilot and one passenger have not been located, and the airplane is missing. Radar track data was lost when the airplane was about 16 nautical miles north of TRK, and is presumed to have crashed in remote mountainous terrain. The personal cross-country flight was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulator Part 91. There was no record that the pilot had filed a flight plan.

TRK airport operations personnel reported that about the time the airplane departed, lowering cloud bases were observed west of the airport, which would have been the direction of flight en route to O69. However, the pilot elected to depart to the north in an area where higher cloud bases existed.

Search and rescue efforts commenced the morning following the disappearance of the airplane, April 18th, and were subsequently suspended during the evening of April 23rd. To date the airplane has not been located, and an emergency locator signal has not been reported.


Mark and Brenda Richard
~

Authorities found a missing airplane, which crashed while carrying a married couple from Truckee to Petaluma, California, in mid-April, after receiving a tip from a citizen.

The plane was found on Tuesday in a remote area southeast of Yuba Pass in Sierra County, according to the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities found two occupants in the plane, later identified as 54-year-old Mark Steven Richard and his 53-year-old wife, Brenda Jane Richard. Both were reported missing on April 18 after they failed to land on schedule.

The couple departed at about 4 p.m. on April 17 from the Truckee Tahoe Airport in a small four-seat Socata TB20 Trinidad with tail No. N28070. They were scheduled to land at the Petaluma Municipal Airport, but they never arrived, Sierra County Sheriff’s deputies said in a previous news release.

Early the next morning, authorities with the Office of Emergency Services in California notified Sierra County deputies that the plane was overdue. 

Investigators with the Civil Air Patrol and the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center conducted radar analysis and traced the couple’s cellphones. They narrowed the search to an area near Yuba Pass Road, between Webber Lake and Jackson Meadow. The area is about 22 miles northwest of Truckee.




Authorities said they extensively searched the area with the help of the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team as well as other agencies in California.

Neighboring agencies from Nevada also helped in the search. But the search was later suspended after authorities failed to find the missing plane.

John Clausen, 58, who works as a sales representative for Granite Chief in Olympic Valley, Calif., often spends his time hiking and skiing in the Tahoe-area.

The former sports photographer said he was enjoying several hours riding around in his snowmobile when he came across torn pieces of the plane. He walked around the area and found that a large portion of the plane was still intact, he said.

“I didn’t look inside to see if there was anyone there,” Clausen said.

He said he felt surprised that a small plane would even survive a crash in the rugged mountainous area. He found the plane between Yuba Pass and Webber Lake—the same general area where authorities believed the plane had crashed.

“There was no way anyone could have found it because of the thick forest and the deep snow,” Clausen said. “My first thought was, ‘Wow!’”

Clausen said the trailhead where he was riding his snowmobile “easily had 2 to 3 feet of snow.” And the area where he found the plane was covered in even more snow.

“It was like finding a needle in the haystack,” he said. “I was not looking for it. I was just enjoying several hours of snowmobiling.”

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




May 19, 2017 – On Tuesday, April 18, 2017 the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office initiated a search effort based on a report of an overdue aircraft reported as traveling from Truckee to Petaluma California the previous day. The overdue aircraft was reported to have been occupied by Brenda Jane Richard, age 53 (Reported Pilot) and Mark Steven Richard age 54 (Reported Passenger), a married couple both of Santa Rosa California.

An extensive search was performed by members of the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team as well as numerous agencies from throughout the state, in addition to neighboring agencies from Nevada providing mutual aid to the extensive search effort. The search was later suspended with no evidence of the missing aircraft discovered.

On Tuesday, May 16, 2017 the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office responded to a citizen report of an airplane crash in a remote area south/east of Yuba Pass in Sierra County. Upon locating the crash site, the Sierra County Sheriff's Office was able to determine the crashed airplane was that of the missing aircraft from the April 18, 2017 search effort.

A subsequent investigation by the sheriff’s office as well as federal agencies confirmed two occupants on board the aircraft. Both occupants were found deceased and later identified as Brenda Jane Richard and Mark Steven Richard. The family of the couple has been notified. The Sierra County Sheriff's Office extends our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Mark & Brenda Richard.

Original article can be found here: https://yubanet.com

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