Saturday, July 22, 2017

Cessna 208 Caravan, N802TW, registered to Tailwind Air Service LLC and operated by Volo Aviation LLC: Accident occurred July 21, 2017 near Skyport Seaplane Base (6N7), New York

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; New York, New York

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: New York, NY
Accident Number: GAA17CA574
Date & Time: 07/21/2017, 1720 EDT
Registration: N802TW
Aircraft: CESSNA 208
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 9 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled 


The pilot of the float-equipped airplane reported that, during a water takeoff, about 50 knots, the airplane encountered boat wake, which caused the airplane to become airborne prematurely. He added that the airplane landed on a swell and became airborne again. During the second touchdown, the airplane struck another swell, and touched down hard. The pilot aborted the takeoff.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the empennage.

The director of operations for the company reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The airplane's encounter with boat wake and multiple swells during a water takeoff. 


Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Choppy surface - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Miscellaneous/other (Defining event)
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 51, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/01/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/16/2017
Flight Time: 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N802TW
Model/Series: 208 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1999
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 20800300
Landing Gear Type: Emergency Float;
Seats: 10
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/15/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 8360 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 1909.2 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: P&W
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: PT6A SER
Rated Power: hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commuter Air Carrier (135)
Operator Does Business As:
Operator Designator Code: XORA 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KJRB, 7 ft msl
Observation Time: 2315 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 220°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 20°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Light and Variable, Variable
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.86 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: NEW YORK, NY (6N7)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: EAST HAMPTON, NY (HTO)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1720 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Water
Airport Elevation: 0 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Water--choppy; Water--calm
Runway Used: N
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 10000 ft / 1000 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 8 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 9 None
Latitude, Longitude:  40.734167, -73.972778 (est)

Ten people, including television producer Bill Lawrence of "Scrubs" and "Spin City" fame, were rescued from a seaplane after it made an emergency landing in the East River on Friday evening, officials said. 

An NYPD Harbor Unit boat picked up the ten people, who were wearing life vests and sitting in the plane after it went down in the water, FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala said. Among them were a pilot and nine passengers, including Lawrence, who described the plane as "our plane" in an Instagram post. 

Lawrence posted a video of himself aboard the plane as it landed in the river, along with photos of the other passengers, some of whom were sitting on the aircraft's pontoons as they waited to be rescued.

"I don't like this," Lawrence can be heard saying in the video right before the plane hits the water. In the caption for the video, he wrote, "Just landing in the east river. No big deal." The video has since been deleted. 

Some of Lawrence's family members were with him on the plane. He wrote, "Daughter is much more casual" in a photo showing a group of passengers waiting to be rescued. In another photo after the rescue, he said, "Going to go drink tequila continuously. #Lucky" 

Lawrence is known for creating, producing or writing a number of well-known shows, including "Scrubs," "Spin City," "Cougar Town," "Friends," and "Boy Meets World." 

The plane was leaving SkyPort Marina at East 23rd Street, en route to East Hampton Airport, when it had trouble taking off, according to officials. During the third attempt at takeoff, the plane hit the water, fracturing three float struts on its left side. 

With three struts broken, the aircraft began to list and the pilot aborted takeoff and made a hard landing in the water, according to officials. 

"It just happened really quick, they tried to take off," Lawrence told News 4 New York. "They went up in the air a little bit, came down, pulled up, tried to go up in the air. When it came down, the flotation came off." 

"It felt like taking off, calm for a second, get nervous, come down — boom," he said.

Lawrence's daughter, Charlotte, said it was a dramatic few minutes. 

"It was scary," she said. "Once we knew we were safe, it was fine, like I made a new friend. We were smiling eventually. It was scary initially." 

A woman named Kendall was also on the boat, she said she started crying.

"I was just like shaking and really nervous, and once I got out I felt okay," she said. 

Bystanders recorded video and watched in shock as the plane came down. 

Carter Craft was on a boat after finishing up an environmental project when the seaplane made the hard landing and one of its pontoons broke.

He said he saw the plane approach from the south, come in to land in choppy water and then come to a "dead stop."

"I knew something was wrong when it was stalled there in the water," Craft said. "I could see it was completely stopped and there were a lot of people out on the wing and one of the pontoons that didn't break off."

Leroy Farmer watched in horror as the plane splashed into the water.

"When it hit the water, the left part made a front dive, like if a wave hit it," Farmer said. "It must have been about 15 people picking up the phone, dialing 911." 

FDNY Marine units and NYPD Harbor units responded about 300 yards from the East 23rd Street pier at 5:30 p.m., three minutes after the plane went down, officials said. FDNY units secured the vessel as NYPD units removed the 10 passengers, who were wearing life jackets and sitting in the plane. 

Officials said all 10 passengers refused medical treatment after they were taken to SkyPort Marina. The rescue went so smoothly that NYPD Lt. Joe Grasso said the passengers weren't even wet. 

There was heavy traffic and delays on the FDR Drive as gawkers looked on at the plane during the height of the evening rush. 

As for Lawrence, he said he was taking it easy Friday night.

"I'm going to go have a glass of tequila somewhere and sit around in the dark," he said. 

The NTSB is investigating what caused the plane to have trouble taking off, officials said. 

The Cessna Caravan C208 is registered to Tailwind Air, LLC, which provides shuttle service across the northeast and out to the Hamptons on Long Island, records show.

Tailwind Air confirmed with News 4 New York that the plane was theirs. In a statement, the company's president, Shane Reynolds, said the passengers and crew were safe and that normal operations have resumed. 

This is the third unusual aircraft landing in the region in the past 36 hours.

On Thursday, a small plane landed on Sunrise Highway on Long Island.

And on Wednesday morning, a small helicopter carrying the only son of WWE owner and chairman Vince McMahon made a controlled emergency landing in the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island's Gilgo Beach, prompting a major emergency response.

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