Monday, June 5, 2017

Piper PA-23-250 Aztec, N21WW, operated by Air America Inc: Fatal accident occurred June 03, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Juan, Puerto Rico
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida
Hartzell Propeller; Piqua, Ohio

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

Air America Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N21WW





NTSB Identification: ERA17FA195
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Saturday, June 03, 2017 in San Juan, PR
Aircraft: PIPER PA23, registration: N21WW
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious, 1 Minor.

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 June 3, 2015, about 1418 Atlantic standard time, a Piper PA-23-250, N21WW, operated by Air America Inc., was destroyed during impact with water and a reef, and a subsequent postcrash fire, shortly after takeoff from Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (TJSJ), San Juan, Puerto Rico. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries, two passengers were seriously injured, and one passenger was fatally injured. The on-demand air taxi flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Benjamin Rivera Noriega Airport, (TJCP), Isla de Culebra, Puerto Rico.

According to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the flight was cleared for an intersection takeoff on runway 8 from taxiway S5. Runway 8 was 10,400 feet long and the intersection takeoff at S5 allotted approximately half of the runway length. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported an engine failure and no further communications were received from the accident flight. The airplane subsequently turned left an impacted shallow water and a reef located about .75 mile abeam the departure end of runway 8.

According to the pilot's written statement, about 100 feet above ground level, he retracted the landing gear and noted that the airplane did not seem to be climbing or accelerating like normal. He verified that the magnetos and fuel pumps were on, and that the throttle, mixture, and propeller levers were in the full forward position. He also noted that all the engine instruments were in the green arc normal operating range. The airplane then yawed left and the pilot noticed that the left engine rpm was less than the right. The pilot subsequently turned left with the yaw to return to the airport, but was unable to maintain altitude. He also attempted to avoid a populated beach and ditched in shallow water.

Examination of the wreckage following recovery to a hangar revealed that both wings separated during impact. The right wing exhibited leading edge impact damage and buckling at the outboard section. The right flap and right aileron had separated from the wing and were also recovered. The right engine remained attached to the wing and the right propeller remained attached to the engine. The two propeller blades appeared undamaged and not in a feathered position. The valve covers, spark plugs, oil filter, and vacuum pump were removed from the right engine. The spark plug electrodes were intact and the vacuum pump vanes and drive coupling were also intact. When the propeller was rotated by hand, crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed to the rear accessory section and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. The fuel injector servo and magnetos were also removed. The fuel injector servo screen was absent of debris. Fuel was recovered from the fuel line to engine driven pump, the engine driven fuel pump, the fuel line to the fuel servo, and in the fuel servo. The fuel was consistent in odor to 100 low lead aviation gasoline. The left magneto did not produce spark when rotated by hand, consistent with saltwater immersion. The right magneto produced spark at five of the six leads. The right flow divider attach bolts were found loose. Two of the flow divider lines had separated consistent with impact and one line was found loose and its B-nut was removed by hand with two turns. The fuel injector nozzles were unobstructed. The left engine oil filter element and left engine oil suction screen were absent of metallic contamination.

The left wing exhibited leading edge impact damage and buckling at the outboard section. The left flap remained attached to the wing. The left aileron had separated and was also recovered. The left engine remained attached to the wing and the left propeller remained attached to the engine. One propeller blade appeared undamaged and the other blade was bent aft, but both blades were not in a feather position. The valve covers, spark plugs, oil filter, and vacuum pump were removed from the left engine. The spark plug electrodes were intact and the vacuum pump vanes and drive coupling were also intact. When the propeller was rotated by hand, crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed to the rear accessory section and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. The fuel injector servo and magnetos were also removed. The fuel injector servo screen was absent of debris. Fuel was recovered from the fuel line to the engine driven fuel pump, the engine driven fuel pump, the fuel line to the fuel servo, the fuel servo, and in the flow divider. The fuel was consistent in odor to 100 low lead aviation gasoline. The fuel inlet hose B-nut at the fuel servo was not tight. The magnetos did not produce spark when rotated by hand, consistent with saltwater immersion. Five of the six fuel nozzles were unobstructed and one was obstructed.

Review of the cockpit revealed that the landing gear and flaps were in the retracted position. The seatbelts and shoulder harnesses remained intact. The master switch was in the off position and the left and right fuel pumps were in the on position. The left magneto switches were in the on position and the right magneto switches were in the off position. Underwater photographs provided by law enforcement revealed that the right throttle lever was forward, while the right mixture and propeller levers were midrange. The left throttle lever was midrange while the left propeller and mixture levers were forward. However, the preimpact positions of the levers could not be verified as the wings separated during impact. The left engine fuel selector was found positioned to the left inboard main fuel tank position and the right engine fuel selector was found positioned to the right outboard main fuel tank. The crossfeed switch was found midrange and fragmented. Measurement of the rudder trim jackscrew corresponded to a neutral rudder trim position. Measurement of the stabilator trim jackscrew corresponded to full nose-up stabilator trim position, but damage was present near the jackscrew and its trim indicator cable had separated. Control continuity was confirmed from rudder to the rudder pedals in the cockpit. Continuity was also confirmed from the stabilator to the cockpit area. Aileron continuity was confirmed from the respective aileron bellcranks, through the separated wing roots, to the cockpit area.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine and airplane multiengine. The pilot's most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on December 14, 2016. The pilot reported a total flight experience of approximately 1,200 hours; of which about 200 hours were in multiengine airplanes and of those about 20 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

The six-seat, low wing, tricycle retractable gear airplane was manufactured in 1975. It was powered by two Lycoming IO-540, 250-horsepower engines, each equipped with a Hartzell controllable pitch full-feathering propeller. According to maintenance records, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on November 16, 2016. At that time, the airframe had accumulated 9,087.3 total hours of operation and the engines had accumulated 695.3 hours since major overhaul. The airplane had flown about 95 hours from the time of that inspection, until the accident.

The recorded weather at TJSJ, at 1421, was: wind from 070 degrees at 17 knots; visibility 10 miles; few clouds at 2,400 feet, scattered clouds at 4,000 feet, scattered clouds at 7,000 feet; temperature 31 degrees C; dew point 24 degrees C; altimeter 29.98 inches of mercury.



SAN JUAN — Puerto Rican authorities have identified a girl who died in a small plane crash as 15-year-old Molly Wrede from Atlanta.

The U.S. commonwealth’s emergency agency said Sunday that two friends of the girl remained hospitalized with various injuries. It identifies them as 48-year-old Scott Ellyson and his 14-year-old daughter, Casey Ellyson, of Georgia.

Twenty-two-year pilot Jose Diaz of Puerto Rico also was also injured in Saturday’s crash of an Air America plane off the coast of Piñones, east of San Juan. It had just taken off from the capital’s international airport on a flight to Culebra island.

The three survivors were rescued by people who were swimming or sunbathing on a nearby beach and went to the crash site in kayaks.

The accident cause is currently under active investigation, according to authorities.



ATLANTA — Ironically, the school Molly Wrede went to was located on Ponce de León Avenue.

And one of the major cities in Puerto Rico where she died on Saturday afternoon has a city named after the famous Spanish explorer and conquistador Juan Ponce de León.

Wrede had been a part of The Paideia School community for most of her life. Her older sister also attends the same exclusive Atlanta private school, and each of Wrede’s parents work at the school.

On Monday, the same close-knit community was mourning the death of Molly, who died in a plane crash while visiting Puerto Rico with her best friend Casey Ellyson. Molly recently completed ninth grade, according to the school’s headmaster. She was only 15 years old.

“She was a sweet, caring young woman, and I will always remember her smile,” teacher Eddy Hernandez told a television station in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Hernandez, who taught Molly in French, said she loved to sing and dance. She also wore No. 7 for the junior varsity volleyball team and ran track at the school, located on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

Wrede’s best friend, Casey Ellyson a Paideia sophomore, was also injured in the crash, along with her father, Scott, authorities said.

The plane’s pilot, Jose Diaz, 22, of Puerto Rico also was also injured when the Air America plane crashed off the coast of Piñones, east of San Juan. It had just taken off from the capital’s international airport on a flight to Culebra island.

The three survivors were rescued by people who were swimming or sunbathing on a nearby beach and went to the crash site in kayaks. The crash remains under investigation.

Two other members of the Ellyson family were in a separate plane and were not injured.

Classmates, teachers and friends gathered at Wrede’s former private school called Paideia on Sunday after learning of Molly’s death. Funeral arrangements were pending late Monday.

According to the school’s website, tuition for highschool students at Paideia costs between $23,214 to $23,463 per year.  The Paideia School is an independent school located at 1509 Ponce De Leon Avenue NorthEast in downtown Atlanta. It enrolls children ages three through 18.




We're learning more about a small plane crash that killed an Atlanta teenager in Puerto Rico. 

Molly Wrede, 15, was a rising sophomore. She was vacationing with schoolmate Casey Ellyson and Ellyson's family when the small plane went down in a ball of fire. A beach goer captured the horrific scene off the coast of Pinon, East of San Juan.

The school's headmaster talked with us about the JV Volleyball player who had a great sense of humor.

"It's been a very difficult weekend here.  Most young people have not had the death of a friend or colleague and it hits them possibly even harder than it hits adults," Headmaster Paul Bianchi reflected.

In an unusual twist, both of Molly's parents work at the Paideia School.  Her older sister is also a rising senior there.

Eddy Hernandez taught Reed French.

"She was a serious student, a good student, very diligent, hardworking and what brings a smile to my face is that she had a wonderful sense of humor," Hernandez remembered.

The three survivors, Paideia student Casey Ellyson, her father Scott Ellyson who is CEO of East West Manufacturing Company in Metro Atlanta and the pilot all suffered severe burns. Mr. Ellyson and Casey are in intensive care tonight.  Police say the three were rescued by nearby swimmers and sunbathers who were on the beach at the time.

Mr. Bianchi says there will be a memorial service for Reed Thursday on the Northeast Atlanta campus.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what caused the crash.

SAN JUAN — A teenage girl from the United States mainland who was visiting Puerto Rico with her relatives died Saturday afternoon when a small plane crashed off the island’s north coast, authorities said.

The pilot and two other American tourists were hospitalized with severe burns, police spokeswoman Maria del Pilar Bon said.

The unidentified girl was about 15 years old, and her body was recovered underwater, Ports Authority spokesman Juan Carlos Hernandez said. He said officials did not immediately know the victims’ state or hometown.

The plane had departed the island’s main international airport and was headed to the popular nearby island of Culebra east of Puerto Rico when it malfunctioned, Hernandez said.

It plunged into the ocean near a crowded beach in the community of Piñones, east of the capital of San Juan. Several people swam to the crash to help save those aboard before a fire erupted at the site. One witness told reporters that he could not unbuckle the seatbelt of the girl who died.

The plane is owned by Air America, a Puerto Rico-based charter flight company, Hernandez said. The company offers flights within Puerto Rico and to nearby Caribbean islands.

The director of rescue at the island’s emergency management agency said scuba divers have been dispatched to the plane crash site in the ocean to rescue the injured and retrieve the dead. Nino Correa said four people apparently were on board the flight when it crashed on Saturday.

The plane crashed Saturday afternoon near a crowded beach in the community of Pinones east of the capital, San Juan. Several people swam to the crash to help save those aboard before a fire erupted at the site.


Authorities said they did not immediately have further details. Witnesses told reporters that one of the tourists injured is a young girl who apparently was travelling with her parents.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rican authorities have identified a girl who died in a small plane crash as 15-year-old Molly Reed from Atlanta.

The U.S. territory's emergency agency said Sunday that two friends of the girl remained hospitalized with various injuries. It identifies them as 48-year-old Scott Ellyson and his 14-year-old daughter, Casey Ellyson, of Georgia.

Twenty-two-year pilot Jose Diaz of Puerto Rico also was also injured in Saturday's crash of an Air America plane off the coast of Pinones, east of San Juan. It had just taken off from the capital's international airport on a flight to Culebra island.

The three survivors were rescued by people who were swimming or sunbathing on a nearby beach and went to the crash site in kayaks.

The accident's cause is under investigation.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I understand this is the same aircraft that ran out of runway at St Barth and went into the Water at the beach at the end. The video is easily found in YouTube at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Vh0oJro3A

Anonymous said...

not sure the video shows it's the same exact aircraft...it had an annual done in nov so unlikely there is any relation to accident IF it's the same aircraft.